SW Radio Africa (London)

14 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Arson Victim Told to Bring 'Suspects' to Police

A senior member of the MDC-T on Wednesday strongly condemned police in Mutoko for their inaction in arresting arsonists who petrol bombed two houses belonging to a party activist.

Piniel Denga, the MDC-T provincial chairman for Mashonaland East, told SW Radio Africa's Hidden Story program he was horrified to note that despite evidence linking the arson attack to known ZANU PF activists, police refused to act because the case is 'highly sensitive.'

Denga blamed the lack of action on police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, whom he accused of destroying the once vibrant force.

'We don't expect the police to do anything to ZANU PF operatives because their boss is ZANU PF and wears a party t-shirt to work under his uniform,' Denga added.

Mutoko is a highly polarized district and witnessed some of the bloodiest violence during the 2008 poll. No one has ever been arrested for the violence that left many MDC-T supporters dead.

'Last week, police even had the audacity to tell the victim to bring the suspects to the police station in order for them to open a docket,' Denga said.

This latest incident of political violence flared up in Mutoko East last weekend when suspected ZANU PF activists petrol-bombed a homestead belonging to David Chamanga Chihwayi, the MDC organising secretary for ward 17 in the area.

During the attack Chihwayi reportedly lost 300kg of maize, all his clothes, including school uniforms for his two children, food stuffs and $300 which he kept in his bedroom.

Denga said by turning a blind eye when a crime is committed police are neglecting their duty and need to be fired. After the attack, Chihwayi was able to preserve some footprints as evidence but the police never bothered to send in a forensic team.

'To his credit Chihwayi was able to follow the prints from his homestead to the house that belongs to a known war vet who lives in the area. This case should be treated as an attempted murder because they torched his house when he was sleeping. We only thank god that he made it out before the fire engulfed the whole house,' Denga said.

Before the attack, Chihwayi had received a series of threats from known ZANU PF activists for leading a campaign to be compensated for the goods and livestock they lost during the bloody 2008 elections.

The MDC-T in Mashonaland East have rallied behind its ward chairman, raising money and building materials to rebuild the two houses destroyed in the attack.

'We have all the material on site now and I think by this weekend he will move into his refurbished home,' Denga added.

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