SOME parents are still hesitant to send their children to this month’s Harare Agricultural Show as memories of the mysterious disappearance of Given Flint Matapure at the show still haunts them two years on.
BY HAZVINEI MWANAKA
Given went missing during the agricultural show in 2011 and DNA tests results later confirmed that the remains found outside the Harare Exhibition Park were his.
Parents who spoke to Standardcommunity last week said they were still hesitant to send their children to the Harare Exhibition Park for the show, which runs from August 23 to 31.
One of the parents, Nathan Makawa of Warren Park in Harare said he was still considering whether to send his seven-year-old son to the premier event.
“I’m still scared to take my son to the Show Grounds because of what happened to Given,” he said. “Whatever happened to him can also befall my son. Of course my son as a child is pressing me to take him there, but as a parent I don’t think I will take him until at least we all know what happened to the lad.”
Makawa added: “We also want assurance from the police and the organisers on the safety of our children.”
Another parent, Roselyn Chakanyuka from Chitungwiza said she was also still to decide on whether or not to send her children to the show.
“I’m sitting on the fence. I will continue thinking about it, but as of now, I still fear for my son’s safety. Last year, my kids did not attend the show. Maybe because no child was lost last year, I might take them there. I still don’t know,” said Chakanyuka.
Last year, the organisers of the show introduced closed-circuit television monitoring to beef up security.
Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (Zas) spokesperson, Heather Madombwe assured the public that security measures would be put in place to prevent a repeat of 2011.
“The method that we used last year proved to be efficient and satisfactory, so this year we will do the same. Security comes from the people, so we urge members of the public to report to the police if they suspect any threat,” she said. “With this event we want people to realise that we have a high level communication idea where exhibitors meet with their potential markets on a one-on-one communication.”
Parents must play their part— Police
Harare Province police spokesperson, Inspector Tedious Chibanda has assured the nation that the police would patrol the grounds at the show.
“We are going to deploy police as usual, and there will be uniformed police on the ground to make sure that order and peace is maintained. What we want is for people to enjoy each and every moment of the events as they unfold without fear,” said Chibanda.
Chibanda however advised parents to be more responsible when taking their children to the show.
“Parents are advised to keep their eyes on their children. Those children who miss their guardians should not panic or ask everyone for assistance, but look for uniformed police and be assisted,” said Chibanda.
“Right now there is an increase in robbery cases, so with the issue of transport, we urge the public to board kombis, buses and taxis that are legally registered.”