The United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr. Bruce Wharton, says the tragic death of 12 year-old Christpower Maisiri, son of a Headlands member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, gives Zimbabwean leaders an opportunity to show their determination in eliminating political violence in the country.
Speaking to journalists during a ceremony to hand over grants to community-based organizations, Ambassador Wharton said it is important that the police, the Joint Operations and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and the government to find out what really happened to Christpower.
Christpower, son of MDC official Shepherd Maisiri, was burnt to death in a suspected case of political violence. He was buried Thursday.
Ambassador Wharton also handed over grants worth $140,000 to eight community-based organisations from different parts of the country under the ambassador’s self-help fund.
He said the grants allow the embassy to fund small developmental activities that directly assist communities.
The beneficiaries included Bonda Art and Craft Community in Manicaland’s Mutasa District and Little Children of the Blessed Lady in Chinamhora, Mashonaland Central. They both received $20,000 for income generating projects that will benefit HIV/AIDS orphans, vulnerable children and women.
Shimangele Moyo of Rose of Charity said the grant is expected to change their lives.
The ambassador’s self-help fund was established in 1980 by the U.S government to support local communities in developing countries.
To date, the program has awarded more than $3 million to over 320 community projects for the construction of classrooms, community centres and houses for teachers and nurses.
In a related development, Zimbabwe’s Health Transition Fund got an $18 million boost Thursday from the European Union which will be used for eliminating fees for women and children at rural health institutions.
Speaking in Harare during the handing-over ceremony, EU charge d’affairs Carl Skau said the organization is committed in improving the lives of women and children in Zimbabwe.
UNICEF representative in Zimbabwe, Dr. Abou Kampor said the number of women dying in child birth and children dying from preventable diseases remains of major concern.