Cover-up suspicions arise: Family demands answers as suspect dies in police cells


Three members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) special constabulary are facing severe criticism following allegations of fatally assaulting a suspect inside holding cells at Banket Police Station.

The incident, which resulted in the death of 26-year-old David Kanyenze, was reportedly intended to be concealed as a sudden death case. However, Kanyenze’s relatives blocked this attempt and demanded a thorough investigation into the suspected brutal killing.

Sources indicated to NewZimbabwe that the three ZRP Neighbourhood Watch Committee (NWC) members took turns assaulting Kanyenze on Friday evening, using unidentified objects that caused him serious injuries. One of the assailants allegedly stomped on the suspect’s neck, leading to asphyxiation.

Brian Kanyenze, the older brother of the deceased, expressed deep sorrow and shock over the manner in which his sibling died. He emphasized that regardless of his brother’s actions, he did not deserve to die in such a brutal manner. Brian acknowledged that, like anyone else, his brother had the potential to reform even if he had committed an offence.

Reportedly, David Kanyenze, who worked as a tout for pirate taxis on the Banket—Chinhoyi route, was wanted by the police for malicious damage to property. The charge stemmed from an incident where he allegedly destroyed a weighing scale at a butchery in Banket’s Kuwadzana shopping center. The altercation occurred after Kanyenze refused to pay for food, claiming it was poorly cooked.

After being arrested early last week, Kanyenze was taken to Banket police station and placed in a cell. However, he managed to escape from custody. He was subsequently re-arrested on Friday at Kuwadzana shops by NWC members and taken back to the police station, where the assault took place around 5pm.

The attackers allegedly left the bloodied victim in the cell, struggling for his life. Other inmates noticed Kanyenze experiencing breathing difficulties and raised the alarm. He was quickly transported to Banket District Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Brian expressed concern that the family was never informed about his brother’s arrest, assault, or subsequent admission to the hospital. He demanded justice for the killers, as he believed there were attempts to cover up the murder. Brian learned of his brother’s death through word of mouth.

Efforts to obtain a comment from ZRP’s national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.

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