SW Radio Africa (London)

27 February 2013

Zimbabwe: 12 Year-Old Maisiri Died of 'Carbon Monoxide Poisoning'

The results of a post-mortem examination into 12 year-old Christpower Maisiri's death show that he died of 'carbon monoxide poisoning' after a raging fire destroyed the family's home on Saturday.

Christpower will be buried on Thursday in Dzikiti village.

Smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death related to fires. It damages the body by asphyxiation (lack of oxygen).

It is believed Christpower was sleeping when the fire, thought to have been caused by a petrol bomb, broke out at his father's Headlands home. All other siblings in the same hut were rescued by an elder brother, who unfortunately failed to reach the grade 4 pupil because of the intense heat and thick smoke.

Police have said they're still investigating the cause of fire although Christpower's family is treating it as an arson attack, allegedly targeting his father Shepherd Maisiri, a well known MDC-T official in Headlands.

Following this tragic death the MDC-T has come out guns blazing, taking the unprecedented step of taking the graphic photos of the charred remains of Christpower to the weekly Tuesday cabinet meeting, chaired by President Robert Mugabe.

The party's secretary-general, Tendai Biti, took the photos and showed them to Mugabe and other members of the cabinet, and this ignited a heated debate over the upsurge of political violence in the country.

According to sources, Biti blatantly accused Didymus Mutasa, the ZANU PF MP for Headlands, of instigating most of the violence against MDC activists in his constituency.

When Mutasa tried to defend himself, he was told that his constituency has recorded the highest incidents of political violence, that have never been investigated.

The MDC-T also blasted the police force, saying that the latest violence is being fueled by police inaction and partisanship and by a failure on the part of ZANU PF leaders to take an unequivocal stance against violence.

Biti called on the authorities to hold perpetrators of violence accountable, starting with those behind the arson attack at the Maisiri home.

'We hold ZANU PF responsible for the death of Christpower and we unequivocally hold Didymus Mutasa responsible with the attacks on Maisiri's home. We also going to hold the police to account so that they arrest the culprits,' Biti added.

There have always been accusations that political violence in the country, mostly blamed on ZANU PF, is openly encouraged by party leaders. Human rights activists say the inclusive government should send out a clear message that violence by activists from any party, including the former ruling party, will not be tolerated.

But if the police are partisan, who's going to stop it?

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