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Slain activist inspires Nyanga villagers


The 82-year-old village head, who was a staunch MDC-T supporter, died in April from wounds inflicted by suspected Zanu PF youth militia from the same area because he supported a different political party to their own, Zanu PF.


Speaking at his memorial service recently, villagers vowed to carry on with Nyakauru’s vision of seeing a truly independent country, where freedom of speech and association are not a preserve of a few.


Even elderly villagers, some in the 80s, walking sticks in hand, staggered to Nyakauru’s homestead, to commemorate the passing on of a local hero.


“I am not well but I have to be here because he was a good and staunch supporter of the party,” said Ambuya Roina Muswe (84). “I will die for my party.”


The late Nyakauru’s wife, Emily (72), said the murder had not only strengthened her own resolve to see the ouster of Zanu PF but that of other villagers, who witnessed the cruel act of torture on her husband.


Nyakauru was abducted by Zanu PF youths and war veterans who brutally tortured him at a nearby shopping centre. Despite being the victim and complainant at the police station, he was arrested and spent 27 days in jail.


While in custody, he would complain of chest pains and at times vomit blood but the police made no effort to ensure that he received medical attention.


Emily, a mother of five, said the murder of her husband had rekindled her determination to mobilise other villagers against Mugabe, just as she and her husband did during the liberation struggle.


Ironically, the Nyakaurus are related to Chief Rekai Tangwena, the man who gave Mugabe refuge and helped him cross into Mozambique in 1975 with Ian Smith’s soldiers in hot pursuit.


Now they want Mugabe out.


Emily said for many days she could not sleep or eat well following the death of her husband of over four decades.


“They robbed me of a good husband and friend,” said Emily. “But this has reinvigorated my conviction to see and witness a true democratic Zimbabwe and the prevalence of justice. I will continue to campaign for MDC-T.”


Nyakauru’s alleged killers were said to be roaming freely in the village.


“Today they are the untouchables because they belong to Mugabe’s party but there shall come their judgement day,” she said.


Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who was at the ceremony, said that Mugabe could not win an election in a free and fair political environment, much to the delight of the 7 000 villagers who thronged the Nyakaurus’ homestead.


Local MP Douglas Mwonzora urged his supporters to prepare for the next elections which he said should mark the end of Mugabe and Zanu PF’s rule.


The zest and conviction to which the villagers responded to Mwonzora’s sloganeering underscored their determination and support, even in the face of adversity and death.


“This is what happens when a tormented soul takes a position,” said Mwonzora. “Mugabe is behaving like Smith in his last days.”


Call for the arrest of Nyakauru’s murderers

Senator for Nyanga-Mutasa constituency Patrick Chitaka urged Tsvangirai, to bring to book all those enjoying protection from prosecution from Zanu PF, once in power. 
“We know Nyakauru’s killers,” he said. “They are here in the villages. They must be tried when you come to power. They must go to The Hague.”

Nyakauru’s killers are just but a few of the many Zanu PF and war veterans implicated in violent crimes but continue to enjoy their freedom.

The MDC-T claims that at least 200 of its supporters were murdered during the violent 2008 election by suspected Zanu PF militia, who continue to enjoy state protection.

MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti said Nyakauru did not die in vain as he was fighting for total freedom. He urged people not to tire because “We are close to achieving our democratic desires.”

He said Nyakauru’s death must give the people of Zimbabwe renewed conviction to fight for democracy and dislodge Mugabe in the next elections.

“Nyakauru is a real hero who showed courage and conviction to this democratic struggle, not those people who are awarded hero status for killing people,” Tsvangirai said.


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