Lawyers Demand Probe Into Death Of 82-Year-Old Activist

Nyakauru, a kraal head for Nyakauru village in Nyanga North constituency in Manicaland province, passed on around 1:00am on Saturday at his son’s residence in the Waterfalls suburb of Harare. He was a victim of organised abduction and assault by some war veterans and Zanu (PF) supporters. Nyanga North legislator Douglas Mwonzora and Nyakauru’s son Isaac confirmed the death of the octogenarian.

 Nyakauru was abducted from his home by some war veterans and Zanu (PF) supporters on 14 February who detained and assaulted him at Taziwa Shopping Centre in Nyanga before handing him over to police at Nyamaropa Police Station who charged him with contravening section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The kraal head was assaulted all over his body by a group of people led by war veteran Wilfred Pokoto with sticks and a cattle prod during his detention. His assailants, who accused him of leading MDC-T supporters to destroy some shops belonging to Zanu (PF) supporters in the area, ordered him to lie on his stomach before brutally assaulting him. They also took away his spectacles.

 Nyakauru’s condition was aggravated when he was detained for three weeks at Mutare Remand Prison together with 23 other individuals including Nyanga North Member of Parliament and Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) co-chairperson Hon.Douglas Mwonzora after prosecutor Tirivanhu Mutyasiri vetoed a bail order which had been granted to Nyakauru and 23 other detainees by Nyanga Magistrate, Ignatio Mhene.

The bail order was later reaffirmed by the High Court. As a result of the invoking of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Nyakauru languished in remand prison where his condition worsened. A medical report prepared on 10 March 2011 by prison doctors indicated that Nyakauru suffered from chest pains, severe bronchospasm and respiratory infection during his detention in prison. Mwonzora, who spent time with Nyakauru at Mutare Remand Prison described his death as a tragedy.

“ His story is a story which tells how brutal and senseless this regime is. You had an 82- year -old being accused of public violence and the Attorney General’s office believing in its story. It’s a tragedy but within that tragedy he was defiant, ” said Mwonzora.
 ZLHR, which represented Nyakauru, Mwonzora and 22 other villagers when they were arrested in Nyanga in February called for a probe into the circumstances leading to the death of the kraal head.

“Those implicated in, and responsible for, his abduction, assault and detention, as well as the police who denied him medical attention when he was incarcerated in police cells, and the prison authorities who failed to afford him medical treatment while at Mutare Remand prison are complicit in and contributed to his sad death. ” said a statement from the human rights lawyers.