By Tichaona Sibanda and Violet Gonda
28 February 2013
Christpower Maisiri, the 12 year-old boy burnt to death in an alleged arson attack, was laid to rest on Thursday in Headlands. His death has provoked a storm of criticism against political violence.
Christpower was buried at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and several senior figures from the MDC-T, including Thokozani Khupe, Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and Morgan Komichi.
The party disclosed that it will help rebuild the destroyed hut and has raised enough money to ensure that the Maisiri family live comfortably.
Tsvangirai told mourners at Dzikiti Village that Christpower’s death was not a good indicator that the country will be able to hold a free and fair poll.
Following the tragic events in Headlands the Prime Minister explained that on Tuesday the cabinet had dwelt at length on the upsurge of political violence.
Cabinet strongly condemned the violence and told the police to arrest any perpetrators. But the same police have been roundly condemned for their reluctance to get to the bottom of what happened at the Maisiri homestead last Saturday night.
Police said they’ve not found any evidence of foul play, although Christpower’s father Shepherd Maisiri believes it was an attempt on his life.
Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC-T spokesman for Manicaland, told SW Radio Africa: “They (CIO and war vets) went around the villages last night telling people not to attend the burial and that there would be dire consequences for anyone seen going to a gathering to be addressed by Tsvangirai.”
The Makoni South MP said despite the intimidation and threats the villagers came out in large numbers to grieve with the Maisiri family.
Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone has accused ZANU PF of putting pressure on the police to downplay the arson attack that killed Christpower.
She said it took the police more than eight hours to go to the Maisiri homestead, even though the police station is not far from the MDC-T activist’s home.
Makone warned that this year’s poll will be bloodier than the 2008 elections unless ZANU PF, “switches off its violence machinery.”
In a wide ranging interview on the Hot Seat program Makone said between the Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and President Mugabe, “someone is not doing their work” as the violence continues, in spite of their calls for peace.
“While we speak of ‘free and fair elections’ by day, at night we are talking ‘win at all cost’ even if it means repeating or exceeding the violence of 2008.”
She said the political parties in the coalition government are supposed to campaign together for a Yes vote at the referendum but ZANU PF has already gone into its default position, “which is power at all cost never mind that we have something we have in common.”
“I personally will not be surprised to hear that we will not have a referendum after all, and everybody is now being catapulted into a rushed election which would have had to follow a referendum.”