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The upsurge in cases of political violence is unacceptable
Heal Zimbabwe Trust
February 26, 2013

Whether Christpower Simbarashe Maisiri's father from Headlands is a member ZANU PF or MDC that is beside the point, there is no justification for political violence. Christpower (12) deserved to live, his father's political affiliation does not justify his gruesome death. NO to any form of political violence. Mathew 5vs 9: "Blessed are the Peacemakers."

Heal Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest of terms the callous murder of Christpower Simbarashe Maisiri aged 12 from Headlands who was killed in a politically motivated arson attack on Saturday, 23 February 2013. Christpower's father, Shepherd Maisiri who is a political activist has suffered a record 8 attempts on his life by his political opponents. HZT has continued to record cases of political violence during the four year lifespan of the Inclusive Government regardless of the fact that when the three principals reached the agreement, among other issues they wanted to curb the escalation of political violence cases. Most of the political violence cases reported in the past four years have mainly been cases of harassment and intimidation but it is now extremely worrying that instead of these cases to de-escalate, they are actually increasing to alarming heights where people are losing lives, an act which is UNACCEPTABLE.

Cases of political violence targeting young innocent children should be condemned and castigated as a number of children continue to lose their lives in politically motivated violence. During the 2008 political violence, ten year old, Kudzai Shungu from Bikita was beaten to death and six year old Nyasha Mamhova from Harare South was also killed in an arson attack during the same period. Not forgetting Nigel Mutemagawu who was also a victim of political violence after he was forced to spend 72 days in jail together with his mother for a crime he never understood at a minor age of 2 years.

The total disregard of life as exhibited by Christpower's assailants who saw it fit to "fix" his father by killing the innocent soul should not be tolerated whatsoever especially now as the country heads towards elections. HZT calls upon the police to live to their word of ensuring that there is zero tolerance to cases of political violence. Assistant Police Commissioner, Mr. Matibiri has been on the record recently stating that .....THE POLICE WILL NOT TOLERATE ANY FORM OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE in the country...... He went further to assure the nation that members of the police will arrest all perpetrators of violence regardless of political affiliation and HZT call upon him now to live to his word by immediately despatching a team to investigate and arrest all those involved in the arson attack instead of him dispatching a team to block mourners from attending the funeral of Christpower like what was witnessed this afternoon. Heal Zimbabwe is monitoring Assistant Commissioner Matibiri and awaits for his action and that of the entire police force to ensure the perpetrators are brought to book.

Commenting on the sincerity of the GPA principals' stance on non violence, Shepherd Maisiri had this to say during an interview with HZT. . . I am told I must trust Robert Mugabe that elections are going to be peaceful, well this is proving false, my son is dead before we even get to the referendum, what more will happen as we approach the highly contested upcoming elections. . . ". It remains true that communities are losing confidence in the Principals' empty calls for peace as they are failing to protect survivors of political violence from revictimisation. We urgently call all the Principals to the GPA to take their peace Indabas to all lower ends of society and publicly denounce violence and should also put measures to ensure there is a "Never Again" attitude towards political violence in Zimbabwe.

Despite assurances by the three political Principals that communities should co-exist, little has changed on the ground. The organisation challenges the principals to ensure that their peace messages are transformed into action. The country cannot continue to lose lives whilst there is a coated call and pledge for peace by those assigned to run this country. A number of houses continue to be destroyed, people continue to lose their lives yet the principals continue to call for peace in the comfort of their offices. Is it that the principals especially the President has lost the power to reign his supporters or it is a deliberate smokescreen strategy to denounce political violence during public televised platforms and privately instigate it on his opponents.

It should be noted that Headlands constituency remains a hot bed of political violence. During the 2008 elections, a total number of 6 people lost their lives, whilst a number of women were sexually abused. HZT calls upon the Member of Parliament for the area, Hon Didymus Mutasa to give Zimbabweans a true explanation of what transpired in his constituency as his utterances in the media regarding the issue is a clear sign that the Legislator wants to sweep the case under the carpet. The attempt to bring the debate to whether Mr Maisiri is a ZANU PF or MDC member will not give answers as to why people continue to attack each other over politics. It equally fails to explain why Headlands remains one of the most volatile areas in as far as political violence is concerned.

We call upon the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) to swiftly get into the community and get to the bottom of the matter and earnest attempt to bring this polarised community together. This should also be coupled by the subsequent arrest and prosecution of those who committed this heinous crime.

See also the alert sent by Heal Zimbabwe in 2010 after carrying out a public memorialisation programme for victims of the 2008 political violence in Headlands.

Visit the Heal Zimbabwe fact sheet

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