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ZLHR mourns 82 year-old hero Nyakauru who succumbed to death after abduction and assault
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

April 16, 2011

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is deeply saddened to learn about the unfortunate and painful death of Mr Rwisai Nyakauru, the 82 year old village kraal head, who was a victim of abduction and assault by some war veterans and ZANU PF supporters.

Mr Nyakauru passed on around 1:00am on Saturday 16 April 2011 at his son's residence in the Waterfalls suburb of Harare.

Mr Nyakauru, a kraal head for Nyakauru village in Nyanga North constituency, was abducted from his home by some war veterans and ZANU PF supporters on Monday 14 February 2011. They 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 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Mr Nyakauru 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.

His 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 malevolent and unjustified actions of the State, Nyakauru languished in remand where his condition deteriorated. At one time he collapsed while in his prison cell but prison authorities refused to provide him with treatment at Mutare Provincial Hospital.

A medical report prepared on 10 March 2011 by prison doctors at Mutare Remand Prison show that Nyakauru suffered from chest pains, severe bronchospasm and respiratory infection during his detention in prison.

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. These known architects of Mr Nyakauru's death must be held accountable for the loss of such a precious life, and we call for an immediate investigation into his death and swift action against the perpetrators by the prosecutorial authorities.

It is cruel, unwarranted and unfair that such a well-lived life has ended in this needless manner. Only bringing the perpetrators to account will assist in ending this unacceptable culture of impunity. It is ZLHR's firm belief that bad things that happen to good people serve a greater good, and Rwisai's death should teach us all something about standing up for what is right if we only let ourselves be taught.

There are no words to describe the despondency that we feel, and we cannot possibly imagine the shock and sorrow that has been thrust on Mr Nyakauru's family and relatives.

To the Nyakauru family, we are grieving with you at this sad moment as you traverse this difficult time in life.

May God give Rwisai eternal rest and may his soul rest in peace.

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