Civil groups pressure govt over Itai Dzamara

Civil groups pressure govt over Itai Dzamara

CIVIC groups and Western governments yesterday expressed concern at the Zimbabwean government and police’s apparent lack of interest to bring closure to the mystery over abducted activist Itai Dzamara’s whereabouts two years on.

Source: Civil groups pressure govt over Itai Dzamara – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 10, 2017

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU/OBEY MANAYITI

Dzamara was kidnapped by suspected State security agents on March 9, 2015.

The solidarity messages came as the Dzamara family yesterday held a service at Africa Unity Square in Harare to mark two years of his disappearance.

Dzamara, who was the leader of the Occupy Africa Unity Square movement, was abducted at a time he had petitioned President Robert Mugabe to step down accusing him of failing to run the economy.

He had vowed to hold a vigil in the iconic park adjacent to Parliament until Mugabe stepped down.

The Australian embassy said it remained deeply concerned about the abduction of Dzamara, and disappointed by the lack of progress in the investigation of the matter, particularly in light of a court order requiring action from the relevant authorities.

The European Union also called on the authorities to establish Dzamara’s whereabouts and to ensure that justice was served.

“To express opinion in a non-violent way is a constitutional right of all Zimbabwean citizens, including for Dzamara. It is the right of the authorities to protect the rights of all its citizens,” the regional body said.

The United States embassy said the lack of progress in the case raised doubts about the intention of the authorities responsible for the investigation.

ZimRights added: “What is even more disconcerting is the fact that abductions of a similar nature have continued recently, although the victims were later found alive dumped in farm areas around Harare last year.”

It called on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and international human rights institutions to investigate the problem of enforced disappearances in the country.

In an interview with NewsDay at the commemorations to mark two years after Dzamara went missing, his brother Patson said they were not getting feedback from the government as was directed by the High Court.

Patson said his brother was a breadwinner with a wife and two children and because they felt the government was responsible for the abduction, it should bear the costs of looking after his family.

“The abduction of Itai Dzamara is the work of Zanu PF through State security agencies. It is quite unfortunate that those who are supposed to be enforcing the law are the ones who are breaking the law and, as such, we will continue escalating the noise around the abduction,” Dzamara said.

He said the fight would now be targeted to prevent any future abduction.

Patson pointed out that whatever they were doing in the name of Itai was no longer solely about him, but to also for us to set a precedent regarding the observance of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

“Our message continues to be the same that we want the government of Zimbabwe to account for Itai Dzamara and tell us what happened to him and if he is dead, help us to a point of closure by giving us his body,” he said.

Zimbabwe Divine Destiny leader Bishop Ancelimo Magaya said they would roll out campaigns against torture and abductions as the country gravitates towards the 2018 polls.

“As a church, you will see very soon the rolling-out of campaigns on awareness against things like abductions,” he said.

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