POLICE have dismissed speculation that an arson case in which 10 houses were burnt in Shurugwi, Midlands province, over the weekend was a result of political violence.
The police’s position contradicted President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s stance on the incident after the Zanu PF leader revealed yesterday that he had directed the law enforcement agency to hunt down alleged Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters behind the arson.
Mnangagwa spoke about the arson during the commissioning of the Muchesu Coal Mine in Binga, Matabeleland North province.
He said it was important for citizens to uphold peace in the run-up to the harmonised elections set for August 23.
“We want peace in this country, before, during and after the elections,”Mnangagwa said.
“We reject violence.
“I heard CCC burnt houses in Shurugwi yesterday (Sunday).
“We don’t want that. I have instructed the police to track them down.
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“They need to tell us who told them to burn the houses, then we also ask those that sent them where they got those instructions from.
“We must reject those parties that cause division and suffering among our people because when someone burns your house they clearly want you to suffer.”
On Sunday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the six arson reports from Hanke in Shurugwi
He said the complainants were not aligned to any political party and that the suspects had already been accounted for.
The villagers had their 10 houses burnt during the night.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has so far arrested Edson Madhuveko and Edwin Madhuveko in connection with this case,” Nyathi said.
“The suspects were seen running away from the burnt huts scene.”
According to police, the incident in Shurugwi was one of the arson cases reported at the weekend where seven people died.
Scores of villagers escaped uninjured in the Hanke area arson.
In the other incident, according to the police, three siblings, Ashton Mundoko (12), Quinton Mundoko (7) and Tamari Mundoko (5), died while Takunda Mundoko (14) sustained injuries after their uncle Tonderai Muchimwe (43), who also died, torched a hut they were sleeping in in Mafararikwa village, Marange.
It is alleged that on Saturday, Muchimwe, who was armed with a knife, broke into the hut where the siblings were sleeping and demanded to have sex with their mother.
The woman refused and fled from the hut, leaving her four children behind.
Muchimwe allegedly sprinkled the house with petrol and set it on fire, and the three were burnt to death.
In Chitimbe village, Muzarabani, three people, Emily Kamugiya (65), Letina Chimuka (70) and Maxwell Josi (12) died after an unknown suspect set the hut they were sleeping on fire in on Sunday night.
Chimuka was staying with the other victims after she had been chased away by her son in St Alberts on allegations of witchcraft.
Nyathi yesterday warned criminals taking advantage of the election mood in the country to settle marital and family disputes.
The CCC has in the past complained that its members were being arrested on trumped-up charges.