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Statement on the death of Christpower Maisiri, son of MDC-T Headlands district deputy organizing secretary
US Embassy
February 25, 2013

The U.S. Embassy extends its condolences to the Maisiri family in Headlands on the February 23 death of their 12-year-old son, Christpower Simbarashe Maisiri, in a terrible fire that is currently under investigation. Christpower's father is a Manicaland local official of the MDC-T party, and his home and family have been the target of political violence on multiple occasions over the past decade.

This tragic death presents an opportunity to the Government of Zimbabwe and the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), which are responsible in part for creating and promoting an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding between the political parties, to demonstrate their commitment to justice by swiftly and professionally investigating the circumstances that led to the death of this child.

If this was a case of arson, particularly if it was politically motivated, swift professional law enforcement work to bring the perpetrators to justice is vital to reassuring Zimbabweans that their political leaders sincerely want, and will insist on, peace and peaceful elections in 2013. We call on the Zimbabwe Republic Police to conduct a thorough investigation of this case and, it if is determined to be arson, to hold all responsible for this atrocity to account.

As Zimbabwe brings its Global Political Agreement to an end, non-partisan, efficient, and professional law enforcement is critical to gaining the confidence of the Zimbabwean people, neighboring countries, and the international community. Respect for the rule of law and apolitical policing are also essential for creating the conditions for credible and non-violent Zimbabwean elections later this year.

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