THE family of Itai Dzamara yesterday released an image they claimed was of the missing human rights activist, saying he was being held by intelligence operatives, who captured him more than 15 months ago.
Source: Dzamara ‘captivity images’ released – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 31, 2016
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Dzamara’s brother, Patson claimed two images of the missing activist were leaked by sympathetic intelligence operatives, who were guarding him.
The grainy picture showed a person said to be Dzamara in captivity sitting on the floor with hands tied behind his back, while his head was draped in a bandage-like white cloth.
Patson told journalists in the capital that they have been doing some work behind the scenes and are now satisfied the Zanu PF government was responsible for his brother’s disappearance.
“From the onset, I never minced my words regarding, who the perpetrators are. Never have I cowered from my position that the disappearance of Itai is the work of Mr (Robert) Mugabe’s Zanu PF through State security agents,” he said.
“It is indeed a fact that the Zanu PF-led government has presided over gross human rights violations and we have permitted them to get away with it. The time has come for us as citizens to draw a line in the sand. We can’t allow this buffoonery to continue.
“After this exposition, every Zimbabwean and the whole world shall know how evil these people are,” he said.
Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday declined to be drawn into the matter.
“Please leave me out of this. I was not at the Press conference and I am not commenting anything on that,” she said.
Patson said some insiders volunteered information concerning the missing journalist-cum-activist and even leaked his photos shot from a secret dungeon where he was detained.
“I cannot at this juncture state my brother’s fate in the hands of these gangsters,” he said, before adding that those who had captured his brother had been working under Zanu PF instructions.
“For choosing to speak out against their misrule and leadership failure, they abducted Itai in broad daylight. They thought they would get away with this evil as usual, but not this time around. They pressed a wrong button.”
Patson described Zanu PF leaders as shameless oppressors, who will stop at nothing for power’s sake.
But Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday said his party had nothing to do with the missing activist.
“How can Zanu PF, a whole party with millions of supporters, keep one person? Who in particular is he referring to? If he has an idea, he should report to the police,” he said.
Patson insisted that according to experts in photography, there was a high likelihood Dzamara had been tortured and sustained head injuries.
“It’s quite unfortunate that the people we are looking up to as our leaders are not leaders (but) they are gangsters,” he said.
“We know who abducted him. We were given names of the people behind this, but I am not at liberty at this juncture to mention the names because we are still in the process of consolidating our information. We are not in a position to reveal where the photo was taken, but in under a week we will be giving more information.”
Patson said the battle was no longer about Dzamara, but a way of putting an end to enforced disappearances.
He said he was aware that following the publication of the pictures, he faced a security risk, but he was not going to be cowed into silence.
The younger Dzamara has had several brushes with law enforcement agencies over his missing brother and on Independence Day, he landed himself in trouble after demonstrating right in Mugabe’s face.
Yesterday, he narrated a horrifying account of how he was allegedly tortured for demanding the whereabouts of his brother.
Former Zanu PF activist, Acie Lumumba, who attended the Press briefing, also blasted the government for the abduction of rights campaigners.
“It breaks my heart that Dzamara’s family has to go through this. Going forward, this is a lesson for the whole country. We can’t allow the system to put the life of one of us under such conditions,” he said, adding this could have happened to anyone.
“The State should carry out thorough investigations and update the family. It’s clear that they are hiding something because the way they panicked when this matter was brought (up).”
Dzamara has been missing since March 9 last year, with human rights campaigners accusing the State of being responsible for his abduction.
The State initially dragged its feet in investigating the matter until the family took up the issue with the High Court.
Despite the court saying the police should issue regular updates on their investigations, the family say these have not been forthcoming.