ZVISHAVANE – Heavily armed riot police in Zvishavane on Saturday disrupted a prayer meeting organised by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and other civic groups for missing journalist Itai Dzamara.
MDC-T party secretary in the president’s office, Sessel Zvidzai confirmed the development, saying riot police armed with baton sticks, water cannons and dogs besieged the prayer venue after they got information on the planned rally.
“We could not do anything as the police at the last minute banned the prayer meeting,” Zvidzai said told the weekly Standard newspaper.
Opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was expected to join other political leaders and civil groups at the prayer meeting. National police spokesperson Charity Charamba on Saturday said she was unaware of the said prayer meeting.
Dzamara was abducted from a barbershop in Harare’s Glen View suburb on the 9th of March. A group of suspected state security agents first accused him of stealing a cow before bundling him into a waiting white Isuzu truck.
Speaking at a Zanu PF provincial meeting in Gweru on Saturday, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in charge of the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation as Minister in the past claimed the same institution, accused of abducting Dzamara, was looking for him.
“We all regret what happened to Itai Dzamara and as government we have no answers. Both the police and the CIO are all out to try and find out what happened. Every single citizen must be protected by the state,” he is quoted saying.
“We appeal to churches, including prophets, who can assist in finding Dzamara to do so as everyone is worried and concerned about him,” said Mnangagwa.
In October last year Dzamara was arrested after he called on President Robert Mugabe to step down in a petition that was delivered to the presidential Munhumutapa Offices. Since then he had been arrested, assaulted and tortured several times for his ongoing protest at the Africa Unity Square in Harare.