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House fire kills former aide to Mugabe

A raging house fire has killed one of Zimbabwe's main political brokers, raising questions about the battle within President Robert Mugabe's party over who will succeed the ailing 87-year-old leader.

General Solomon Mujuru, the 62-year-old former military chief and guerrilla leader, died in a fire at one of his homes yesterday. His widow, Joice Mujuru, is vice president and her supporters are vying for supremacy within their party should Mugabe die or retire.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party has been plagued by disputes over his successor. Mujuru's wife leads a powerful faction but counted on the support of her husband, who still commanded loyalty in the military for his role in helping sweep Mugabe into power in 1980.