via Dzamara’s friends lose confidence in police – The Standard April 12, 2015 by Charles Laiton & Edgar Gweshe
As the whereabouts of abducted journalist cum-human rights activist, Itai Dzamara remain a mystery, confidence is slowly fading on the willingness of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to comply with a High Court order to search and find him.
Dzamara was abducted on March 9 by suspected State security agents and his whereabouts remain unknown.
A critic of President Robert Mugabe, Dzamara had been campaigning for the ouster of the President through his Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) campaign. He said Mugabe had failed to deliver to the people of Zimbabwe.
Dzamara was also a member of the National Youth Alliance for Action (NYAA) which comprises students and youths from various political parties who have thrown their weight behind calls for Mugabe to step down.
NYAA chairperson, Obey Sithole said the lack of positive feedback from the police was worrisome and had led them to doubt the commitment of the force to search for Dzamara.
“We no longer have confidence in the police force because they were mandated to look for Dzamara but up to now, there have not been any positive results. To us, this is a clear indication that the police have failed to execute their mandate,” said Sithole.
“They have not given any feedback and that is what is baffling us. We have a police force that is mandated to deliver and they are failing to do that. We do not accept that our police force can fail so dismally to protect a Zimbabwean citizen.”
He said although government, through vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa had condemned Dzamara’s abduction, the State needed to do more to ensure that he is found.
“Although pronouncements condemning his abduction have been welcome, the lack of progress in terms of investigating the abduction and the glaring lack of results is of great concern,” said Sithole.
The High Court ordered the police to search for Dzamara on March 13. High Court judge Justice David Mangota ordered the police to work together with Dzamara’s lawyers, Muchadehama and Associates, who were appointed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human rights (ZLHR) to establish the missing activist’s whereabouts and report progress every Friday.
Sithole blamed state agents for peddling falsehoods that friends of Dzamara were aware of his whereabouts.
“Government does not want to take the blame and that is why they are saying that we know where Dzamara is,” said Sithole.
Dzamara’s lawyer Aleck Muchadehama said his law firm and partner Charles Kwaramba were giving their best to ensure Dzamara’s return, but they were also pinning their hope on the ZRP who were however, not giving them meaningful assistance.
The last time we checked with them about a week ago, we were told they had not made any headway. We just hope one way or the other our client will be found alive,” Muchadehama said.
“The ZRP boasts of being one of the most professional and competent forces in the world but being told by such a force that it has not yet found any leads to finding an abducted person is very worrying. We do not expect to hear such a statement from the ZRP, unless they know something we do not know.”
He added: “More worrying is the fact that no one in the country is doing anything about it. People cannot just be abducted and disappear without trace while the police, civil society, non-governmental organisations and churches remain silent as if nothing happened.”
Muchadehama said police had a primary duty to ensure that every citizen who disappeared under whatever circumstances is found and perpetrators brought to book.
“Of all those people who disappeared since 2008 and 2009, are you telling me that the police did not find any leads to the perpetrators of those offences?” he asked.
“Hell no, murder is the worst crime any human being can commit under the sun. Not even treason can be compared to murder, but if our police force stand up and say they have not managed to arrest perpetrators of such murders, then we are living in a country of lawlessness.”
The question still lingering in people’s minds is whether the truth of what transpired to Dzamara will ever be known, or if he will surface from somewhere someday.