SW Radio Africa (London)

22 February 2013

Zimbabwe Cabinet Ministers Clash Over Headlands Killing

There was an explosive Cabinet meeting Tuesday as MDC-T ministers confronted ZANU PF over the death of a 12 year old who died in a suspected arson attack in Headlands this weekend.

Cabinet meetings are closed to the media. But some ministers who spoke on condition of anonymity said the issue of the Headlands tragedy was first brought up by Jameson Timba from the Prime Minister's officer, saying it was politically motivated.

The sources told SW Radio Africa that Finance Minister Tendai Biti then 'spoke with more flesh' and fingered Didymus Mutasa, the ZANU PF MP for Headlands.

Biti is said to have gone prepared with laminated graphic pictures of the charred body of Christpower Simbarashe Maisiri, who died in the fire on Saturday. Biti reportedly told the shocked ministers that he was showing the full cabinet the pictures of the horrific attack on one of his party's members so that 'no one can hide behind ignorance'.

Mutasa who is also the ZANU-PF secretary for administration and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs tried to deny any involvement but Biti and others are said to have challenged him about why cases of politically motivated violence seem to be take place more in his area.

Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Elton Mangoma is said to have also challenged Mutasa to a joint meeting where the government ministers can speak about peace.

But some ZANU PF ministers fought back, with Information Minister Webster Shamu blaming the disturbance on outside forces with an 'imperialist agenda' who were trying to portray his party in a bad light as the country prepares for elections.

Education Minister David Coltart reportedly told Cabinet that what was happening in Zimbabwe, where people are arrested for owning radios and for registering to vote, is a reflection of the poison in Zimbabwean society.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai meanwhile has appealed for peace and is said to have told his ZANU PF counterparts that 'no one has a retributive agenda'.

"He told them that did not have to go to the lengths of killing people to stay in power because they have nothing to fear," said the source.

Ministers called on the police to investigate the atrocities and to be more objective.

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