Three Hurungwe children survive in a suspected arson attack
Three children escaped death by a whisker while property worth hundreds of dollars was destroyed after a hut belonging to a ZimRights member and Pastor with Africa Maranatha Faith Ministries, Lloyd Mapfumo caught fire in a suspected case of arson.
The incident happened on the 2nd of September 2020 around midnight. On the 8th of October 2020, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) Human Rights Monitoring team together with Mashonaland West Provincial Chairperson Isaac Chamonyonga visited Mapfumo’s residence in Mahwadu village under Chief Dendera in ward 23 of Hurungwe Central in Mashonaland West Province.
ZimRights learnt that in May 2020 the pastor's wife had an altercation with the local leadership over distribution of food aid. The couple has one child and look after five orphaned children. The leadership (name withheld) threatened the wife with unspecified action.
The Mapfumo family has been pushing for children's rights in the area and speaking against partisan distribution of food aid in the community and villagers suspect this could be the reason for the arson attack.
The family, which uses a small a kitchen meters away from the main hut where goods were kept and children slept, was left in shock by the fire outbreak. Mapfumo managed to forcefully break the door and rescued the children while all the property was burnt.
The family’s clothes, blankets, maize, fertilizers and reserved kitchen utensils were all razed to ashes.
ZimRights was also shocked that while it visited five days after the incident despite a report at Magunje Police Station, the police had not attended the scene of the incident citing transport challenges. ZimRights assisted the police and a docket has been opened.
The arson attack on a Good Samaritan who serves lives of many orphans has all the hallmarks of a continuation of violations against activists in the country. ZimRights condemns this violence and urges authorities such as the police and other law enforcement agencies to conduct extensive and transparent investigations to ensure they establish who was responsible for this arson attack. Those that are implicated should be prosecuted.
ZimRights wishes to remind the pepetrators that children are a very important resource for the country and their well-being is critical for sustained socioeconomic development. The children are innocent, vulnerable, and dependent. They are curious, active, and full of hope. Their time should be one of joy and peace, of playing, learning, and growing. Their future should be shaped in harmony and co-operation by all of us. As a nation we are guided by international and regional instruments relating to children, to which Zimbabwe is a signatory including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). These rights are also enshrined in the Children's Act and Section 81 of Constitution.
Report Issued by
Chamonyonga I. (Rev)
Provincial Chairperson Mashonaland West