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Police refuse families to hold memorial service at garage

Police in Bulawayo denied two families’ permission to hold a memorial service on Thursday at the garage where their two ten-year-old sons drowned last year while it was still an open pit in Cowdray Park.

The open pit was dug as an underground fuel tank but was not secured.

One year ago today, on November 10, 2021, the two boys who went swimming in that pit, Lenon Musariri and Melusi Nyoni, died by drowning.

Read: https://cite.org.zw/a-year-on-families-of-two-boys-who-drowned-in-a-pit-seek-answers/

The two families wanted to visit the site and hold a memorial service in their honour on Thursday because they claimed the responsible authority failed to provide justice for their children and the property owner failed to sympathise with them after the boys drowned.

One of the boy’s guardians, Chris Musariri, told CITE that initially the police had agreed to their visit to the site but changed their minds in the evening.

“We went to the police at Cowdray Park around 10 am on Wednesday to inform them that we were planning to host a memorial service for our children at the site – but across the road. The police agreed,” he said.

However, around 6pm, Musariri stated that he received a phone call from the police instructing them not to go to that garage.

“The police said we couldn’t even hold the memorial across the street,” he said.

Musariri stated that his father and the parent of the other boy went to the police station on Thursday morning to inquire as to why the police had changed their minds and that they were told their event could have political implications.

“The police cited that our issue had gone viral and might have political connotations if we gathered there,’ Musariri alleged.

“We also heard from a source that police were (allegedly) informed that we were mobilising the opposition to go to the garage with us. This may explain why we saw some police officers carrying baton sticks patrolling Cowdray Park.”

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