Mutasa, Maisiri's disastrous link

HARARE - Shepherd Maisiri and Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, seem to have a thing going — albeit with disastrous consequences.

While Mutasa resides in Harare’s leafy suburbs, owns a farm and a fleet of cars and has a round-the-clock police guard, his nemesis Maisiri is an impoverished villager who cannot even afford to roof his house with asbestos.

Being close to power, the Zanu PF Manicaland godfather is usually chauffeured in top-of-the-range vehicles on his visits to his constituency in Headlands, while Maisiri, an MDC founder in the area, puts on threadbare shoes at his Headlands home and a wheelbarrow is a prized possession.

Yet, the two never seem too far apart.

The death of Maisiri’s 12-year-old son, Christpower, in a suspected arson case linked to politics has laid bare a decade long acrimonious relationship between the two political foes easily summed up as “David-Goliath duel”, particularly as Maisiri seeks to wrestle the Headlands seat from Mutasa.

Young Christpower’s horrific demise in an inferno, according to Maisiri, is just one of many “tribulations” he has suffered at the hands of Mutasa and his emissaries in the constituency.

While Mutasa is battling to keep the parliamentary seat from the MDC, Maisiri, on the other hand, wants the Zanu PF minister, a close ally of President Robert Mugabe out of Headlands.

At the burial of his son, Maisiri claimed he earned Mutasa’s recognition — and wrath — when he introduced the MDC in the area.

 “Headlands, I want to thank you! You have honoured me in a special way. You have shown faith and trust in me when I started this journey of introducing the name MDC to your homes, the name MDC is now here and it will be here forever. It has been so painful to Mutasa that the MDC is now here” said Maisiri.

“We are enemies to Mutasa; he calls us names such as goblins (Zvitokwani)” he said, tears rolling down.
Mutasa has denied involvement in Christpower’s death, but there was no denying the two men know each other quite well.

The minister of State in Mugabe’s office was quick to admit he knew Maisiri, although he famously claimed that the MDC deputy organising secretary for Headlands is a member of Zanu PF.

“Yes, I know Maisiri, but there is no way he could contest against me when he is a member of my party. Yes, he comes from chief Makoni and resides in headmen Dzikiti’s area, but he is not an MDC supporter,” Mutasa said last Sunday evening when asked to comment on the death of the child.

Mutasa, however, did not visit or send any condolences to the grieving family despite telling this paper that Maisiri is a member of his Zanu PF party.

At a funeral procession for his son, Maisiri asked: “Where are you Mutasa. You claimed to be my friend but where are you Mutasa while I am grieving here?”

Clad in an oversize, striped shirt, Maisiri said it has been a roller coaster for the family.

He said that he named his son as Christpower as an appreciation to God for protecting him at the hands of his adversaries operating with “rewards on offer to anyone who kills me”.

“I was on Mutasa’s wanted list. During elections people were promised vehicles if they apprehended and delivered me to Mutasa,” he claimed.

He said since the turn of a decade, he has been forced to live a pauper’s life as Zanu PF youths at times destroy his tobacco crop.

Taking a glimpse of his cottage, the aspiring MP has no television set in his house forcing him to depend on a donated shortwave radio receiver for news.

“Every time I do something for a living, Zanu PF supporters destroy it, my son has tried to do tobacco farming, but known Zanu PF supporters have destroyed it,” he said.

But while fingers might be pointing at Mutasa, the Zanu PF big man vehemently denies he had a hand in Maisiri’s troubles.

“I don’t know anything about that. I am not involved,” he told the Daily News on Sunday when asked to comment on Maisiri’s claims.

Some Cabinet ministers and the entire MDC leadership are pointing at Mutasa with Finance minister and MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti telling mourners that the Zanu PF chief administrator should come clean or held accountable.

“During the last Cabinet meeting, we told Mutasa that you are responsible for this, if he thought that we were hiding under the cover of the Cabinet privilege, we are saying it here kusina that protection, Mutasa you killed this boy, if you think we are lying take us to court for defamation,” said Biti.

“We had to tell him kuti Gudo guru peta muswe kuti vapwere vagokuremekedza.” - Xolisani Ncube

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