Perpetrators of rights abuses will account

SURELY, someone somewhere, particularly within the establishment, should know what happened to Itai Dzamara. ‘

Source: Perpetrators of rights abuses will account – The Zimbabwe Independent September 2, 2016

Candid Comment,Owen Gagare

He was abducted at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb in broad daylight in March last year — never to be seen or heard from again.

Whether dead or alive, there are some people who are aware of his fate following his enforced disappearance, executed in similar fashion to the abductions of the likes of Paul Chizuze, Patrick Nabanyama and Jestina Mukoko.

There are people who determined Dzamara’s fate behind the scenes.

The state’s continued silence on Dzamara’s disappearance and the inaction on other enforced disappearances over the years is a huge indictment on those in power and their attitude to human rights abuses.

They just don’t care.

In other countries, state security agents search high and low when a citizen is abducted. In the Dzamara case, it is a national tragedy that there is no meaningful effort to bring the culprits to book.

In light of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, which was commemorated on Wednesday, the Zimbabwean government, including President Robert Mugabe and his close associates, should show empathy and spare a thought for the families of abducted persons.

They should ask themselves how they would feel if Dzamara was their child, relative, neighbour or a close friend.

The idea that anyone — whether a political leader or a shadowy backroom operator — should resort to abductions, torture or murder to silence perceived opponents has no place in the 21st Century. The fact that such barbaric acts are happening in Zimbabwe shows the shocking extent to which the basic tenets of democracy and human rights are violated with impunity.

It is a fact that anyone linked to the disappearance of Dzamara, Nabanyama and Chizuze, among other victims, is callous and evil by definition. Those who give orders to ensure enforced disappearances and those who participate in such abductions, and in some cases gruesome murders, are equally diabolic.

For now they may enjoy their personal freedom and be able to take care of their children, without a care in the world about their victims’ families, but justice is coming in their lifetime.

History is full of examples of persons who thought they were untouchable, but were eventually held to account for crimes they committed against humanity.

One need only look at examples of Nazi-era criminals in Germany and wider Europe, the Balkans, East Timor and the Rwandan genocide to see that perpetrators eventually get hunted, prosecuted and punished. So Zimbabwean human rights violators and killers will also be held to account.

For now they can maim and murder and even run, but they can’t hide.