By Tichaona Sibanda
4 March 2013
The mother of Christpowers Maisiri, the 12 year-old boy who died in a house fire in Headlands last week, has criticized the police investigation into her son’s death.
Beauty Muungamirwa said she totally disagrees with the police conclusion that the fire was caused by an explosion of tobacco chemicals and ammonium nitrate fertiliser. She insists it was an arson attack and that police completely ignored what she told them.
‘The police are lying and unfortunately they have done a shoddy job. What they’re doing is covering up for powerful politicians and they know it,’ she said.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, said their investigations had not established any evidence the fire was caused by a petrol bomb attack. Charamba added that a paraffin lamp was recovered close to bags of fertiliser and tobacco chemicals in the house.
Coming down heavily on the police, Christpowers’ mother said investigators are ignoring the fact that the fire started from the top of the thatched house and not inside the house.
‘I was woken up by an explosion, and I went out to investigate not fully dressed. The fire was on top of the thatched house, and it spread from top to bottom and not as suggested by the police that it may have been caused fertilizer and tobacco chemicals inside the room. The fire started from outside and it’s clear something that started it was thrown on top of the hut.
‘The police assume the fire was started by a paraffin lamp inside the hut but those lamps were old and rusty and they didn’t have an ounce of paraffin inside them. We have been very careful because the only light we used in the hut was from a cellphone. My 17 year-old son James showed the police the phone that he uses as a torch at night,’ Muungamirwa said.
She disclosed that when the police asked her if she had any suspects in mind she gave them names of four people, three of whom have since fled from their homes in the last week.
After the house fire, Christpowers’ father Shepherd Maisiri told SW Radio Africa that he gave the police names of people he suspected were behind the alleged arson attack. Two of the suspects he mentioned were Gilbert Makura and Isaac Dhogo.
‘If they had no case to answer or if they were not involved with any criminal activity why are they running away? One of them, James Muzarabani, actually sold a few of his cattle and crossed the border into Mozambique,’ claimed Muungamirwa.