Political violence returns
By Everson Mushava\Feluna Nleya
The charred remains of Christpowers Maisiri, who was in Grade Four at Ruura Primary School, were still in the burnt hut when NewsDay arrived yesterday afternoon.
The MDC-T official, Sherpherd Maisiri, said the family was waiting for the police to take the body away.
Police at the scene declined to comment referring questions to head office. Police spokesperson for Manicaland Province, Asssistant Inspector Luxson Chananda said last night that he was not aware of the incident. He promised to check with the Headlands station today.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the incident: “The MDC-T is extremely saddened by the loss of a young life at the hands of cold blooded murderers who are obviously working on behalf of Zanu PF.”
He added: “The callous murder unquestionably bears the signature of Zanu PF. It’s high timepeople put an end to Zanu PF hegemony by voting them out of power.”
When NewsDay arrived at the Maisiri home, scores of MDC-T supporters were present.
Neighbours said they suspected a petrol bomb was used. Christpowers and his three brothers were sleeping in the house when disaster struck. The brothers escaped with minor burns.
One of the brothers, James Maisiri, who rescued his two siblings, said the roof of the hut collapsed before he could save Christpowers.
“A blast awakened me and when I went out to investigate, the hut was already in flames,” James said.
Maisiri told NewsDay he was not at home at the time of the tragedy, but said he strongly suspected local Zanu PF members (names supplied) were responsible for the inferno. They had verbally threatened him previously on several occasions, he said.
“This is the ninth time they have burnt my house down. My son who died today survived another such attack in June 2008. He already had burn marks on his back from the previous fires,” Maisiri said, showing NewsDay numerous scars on his own body, allegedly sustained from earlier Zanu PF attacks.
Maisiri said local Zanu PF activists had been threatening to “deal” with him for causing the incarceration of their leader Lovemore Manenji, a Zanu PF 2008 torture base commander who was convicted for various counts of politically-motivated violence, including rape.
He was sentenced in 2009 to 52 years and is presently in jail.
“Since the MDC was formed, these mountains have been my home. They have burnt my houses nine times since 2000. I lost two children to the cold weather while I was hiding in the mountains. In 2003, they stabbed my younger brother to death after mistaking him for me. They have also been attempting to take away my fields,” Maisiri said amidst sobs.
Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, is the current MP for Headlands.
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti confirmed the incident.
“Our deputy organising secretary for Headlands, Shepherd Maisiri, had his house burnt today (yesterday) and his son who was 12 years, died in the incident. The boy was born in the bushes in the year 2000 after his parents were attacked and fled their home.”
He said this while addressing thousands of supporters at a rally in Chitungwiza yesterday.
Biti revealed there was a plot to assassinate the MDC-T leadership by Zanu PF as the country moved towards elections.
He said he had been briefed of the plot by a sympathetic Zanu PF official.
“I was with one of the big bosses today (yesterday) and he was telling me that they want to kill us. They want to carry out assassinations,” Biti said.
He said those targeted were people like him who usually move around unprotected.
Meanwhile Biti urged the MDC-T to vote “Yes” at the referendum as the draft constitution was a “baby” of the MDC-T.
“This constitution is the baby of the MDC. The constitution we are going to vote for on 16 March came from the sweat of the children of MDC. It’s a constitution which came from the graves of the MDC-T. It is a constitution which came from the beatings of the MDC.
“So this is our baby. The constitution is a byproduct of the people’s struggle for democratic change of Zimbabwe,” Biti said.