Zimbabwe: Police Brutality Victim’s Body Buried Without Conclusive Postmortem – Family Demands ‘Supernatural’ Justice Amid Suspicion of Cover-Up

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been accused of covering up its officers’ attack on a handcuffed suspect, who later died in holding cells at Banket Police Station, last month.

The now deceased David Kanyenze (26) was assaulted by three unidentified ZRP Neighbourhood Watch Committee (NWC) members within the police camp and succumbed to injuries on October 21.

The victim was reportedly rushed to hospital already dead, merely to conceal the fact he had passed on within police premises.

His body was transferred from Banket and put in a non-functional mortuary at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, where it decomposed before a postmortem to establish the cause of death was done.

Initially set for November 9, 2023, the postmortem was hurriedly conducted five days earlier when the body was already rotten and maggots feeding on the few remaining pieces of human flesh.

David was laid to rest at Banket Cemetery on November 5 amid doubt that justice had been served by police.

The Kanyenze family is distraught and feels there was unprofessionalism on the part of ZRP, which allegedly let the body rot to destroy evidence and shield its members from facing justice for cold-blooded murder.

Family spokesperson and deceased’s elder brother, Brian Kanyenze told he experienced horror seeing his late sibling’s body riddled with maggots.

“Police informed us that the postmortem had been rescheduled for November 4 at Harare Hospital. We then proceeded to Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital mortuary to collect the body but we found freezers switched off and the state of the deceased’s body was horrifying, it had decomposed and it was all maggots.

“The body had decomposed to the extent that when it was taken for postmortem in Harare, the doctor noted the state of decomposition and said he could not conclusively say what caused my brother’s death.

“As a family we were not satisfied with the doctor’s findings as well as an explanation by police detectives who argued the matter could not be taken any further since there no longer was concrete evidence to nail alleged perpetrators,” said Brian.

He said they later grudgingly buried David’s remains to allow his soul to rest in peace, but the family had pursued the spirituality route to get “supernatural” justice as the law had failed them.

“Both our parents are deceased but as siblings we agreed and consulted traditional and faith healers to trigger David’s avenging spirit to deal decisively with his killers because the justice delivery system has failed us concerning his death,” said Brian.

Although efforts to get comment from ZRP national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi this week proved fruitless, earlier police pledged to leave no stone unturned in establishing what transpired on the fateful day leading to David’s death.

Nyathi recently confirmed unidentified members were now under probe, although gathered one of them has disappeared from his homestead.

“There are a number of issues we need to clarify as ZRP command…It’s a matter we are currently investigating as we await postmortem results which will also guide our investigations.

“But l can assure you, it is an issue we are seriously looking into so that we really establish what transpired, from the arrests, we are looking at all the events leading to the unfortunate death.

“We will not sweep anything under the carpet. We will be very open and objective in our investigations, that l want to assure the public,” said Nyathi then.

Sources told that the three police NWC members in question took turns to beat up Kanyenze using unidentified objects resulting in him sustaining grievous bodily injuries. As if that was not enough, one of them stomped the suspect twice on the neck and chest, thereby choking him.

The now deceased, a tout for pirate taxis plying the Banket–Chinhoyi route, was wanted by police for malicious damage to property after allegedly destroying a weighing scale at a butchery situated at Kuwadzana shopping center in Banket.

The butchery equipment was damaged in an altercation between workers at an adjacent canteen and David, who refused to pay for food he had eaten complaining it was poorly cooked.

Following his arrest, the now deceased was hauled to Banket police where he was thrown into cells but later escaped from lawful custody.

He was re-arrested at Kuwadzana shops by NWC members and, again, taken to the station, where they started beating him up around 5pm.

They later abandoned the bloodied victim in the cell battling for his life.

Other cell inmates raised alarm after sensing the victim was having difficulties in breathing. He was then rushed to Banket District Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has expressed interest in assisting the Kanyenze family to get justice for their slain relative.

“I can confirm that papers for that particular case have been prepared and are ready for filing at court,” said a ZLHR official.

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