Itai abduction could have been mishandled: Dzamara family

via Itai abduction could have been mishandled: Dzamara family – DailyNews Live 21 July 2015

HARARE – It’s been more than four months since journalist-cum-activist — Itai Dzamara — was abducted whilst having a hair cut in the suburb of Glen View, 24 hours after he had rallied pro-democracy group to ratchet up pressure on President Robert Mugabe to go.

The police and State who are accused of not doing enough seem to have suddenly found their energy.

But as Senior Assistant Editor Guthrie Munyuki speaks to Itai’s brother, Patson, the family remains adamant he is still alive and the State has him. Below are the excerpts of the interview.

Q: What hope do you have that Itai is still alive and would be returned (alive)?

A: I think that’s pretty much clear to us from our stand point, which is our religious inclination. We are Christians as a family but we certainly pray to God. And in our prayers nothing has registered as yet pointing towards the direction that probably he is dead or something like that.

Everything we have gathered so far as far as our interaction in that world is concerned points to the fact that he is still alive, and that’s essentially what precipitates the hope that we have.

Even though on the surface everything points towards the fact that he is no more but the inner world, the spiritual world to us, resonates the message that he is still alive and as such we still hold onto hope.

There is nothing real that’s tangible or to say we have gotten so many leads pointing to that. That’s a matter for our conviction from a spiritual standpoint.

I for one, think I have dreamt six times and in all the dreams it’s a scenario whereby we would have gone to pick him up wherever they are keeping him and that in itself gives us hope and we do believe that in a way God will be speaking to us through that.

Even other family members have also had experiences like that, when they dream. And not just family members but even other people who have their own ways of seeing in the supernatural seem to concur as far as his being alive is concerned.

Q: Have you tried engaging prophets in your search for Itai?

A: We do have even relatives who are prophets as you know prophets come in different forms, styles and shapes, etcetera. Some have come to us and said we know where he is, he is alive.

But the bottom line after all is said and done — we see no reason whatsoever why we should approach prophets. The reason for that is, it’s settled on us that he is alive and what we are simply doing in the interim is to just hold onto hope and keep on believing in God that Itai will be released and come back and be with us.

I have watched so many people debating saying people like Makandiwa or Magaya must speak… something like that.

Well, I don’t see it that way. If they have to speak or if God shows them they must speak, but I do believe that God has spoken and it’s enough. As far as the position of the family is concerned, we settled on that he is alive and that goes.

We really do not need TB Joshua or whoever to come and tell us that he is alive. I am sure if something is to happen or if something had happened it would have registered in us one way or the other. I do believe in the relevance of the spiritual world and I know at some intervals we go to breeze through that world as well.

Q: If you believe that he is alive how then do you expect his captors to release him back to you especially in light of the furore caused by his disappearance?

A: I think that actually then sets this whole thing up to a dilemma as it were. Because I think right now their dilemma is how they would then unmask this, how they would then release him especially after all the back and forth and also even their denial that they do not have anything to do with his abduction which also poses a threat as far as our quest to find Itai is concerned.

Because one of the easiest ways probably of doing away with this, for them that is, is a possibility, would be doing what others think they have done already — that is eliminate him — to make sure that nothing is traced back to them and it remains a speculation. So that really leaves them in a dilemma and also leaves us in a dilemma because at the same time we cannot remain silent simply because we fear for the unfortunate whilst at the same time we know that our being vocal this way can also precipitate the unfortunate.

So it’s indeed a dilemma but I would love to believe that in spite of all that, God still has the final say over this matter. We are still holding onto hope.

Q: Western embassies have issued strong statements supporting you in search of Itai but do you think having them on your side when they are deemed hostile to government, aides your cause?

A: We do thank all those people who have approached us, the international community, but I think that also calls on other Zimbabweans to take ownership of this (campaign) because we cannot have foreigners make more noise over something that is within our house.

As Zimbabweans what are we doing? Let us take responsibility; this does not have anything to do with MDC or Zanu PF. This has to do with the life of a missing person. So, as Zimbabweans we must take ownership of this regardless of political affiliation and that’s how we look at it. That’s why we have also welcomed anyone and everyone who has shown the desire to assist and stand with us during this austere period.

Q: You have had support from Western embassies and the European Union but not from African embassies. How do you feel?

A: We are really not surprised by that (African countries’ silence). Just reading through the political climate as far as Africa is concerned; it’s something that we were expecting. There are a lot of factors which come to mind such as our President, who is the current African Union chairman and in his capacity as the president of the country he has not addressed the issue. And for us it will be wishful thinking to expect the heads of African countries to take this up when it has not been addressed locally by the president.

Q: Were there any signs that things could go wrong for Itai during his activism?

A: Certainly that element could not be eliminated because of what Itai represented. Even in our conversations I had with him we knew there was a security threat because of the stance and the posture he had assumed because knowing the regime, knowing the system, we knew very well that they would not take the matter lightly.

And we knew that there were security issues involved. Even when this happened (abduction) I was not perturbed simply because it’s almost a given and in my view the abduction of Itai is actually not entirely about him, but it has to do with what he represented and the message that comes out of the abduction.

So they were not against Itai, the person, but the idea he represented. That’s the reason why they eliminated him or they are trying to eliminate him. So, in theory, I look at it from that standpoint to say that they took him to send a message and to block the idea because if that idea had been allowed to unfold, I am sure by now we would be talking about something else. However, we know that you can never kill an idea. You can kill a person but ideas are immortal.

Q: Could Itai’s idea, his association with Dirk Fray in his call for President Robert Mugabe’s ouster and the MDC, who are both viewed as agents for regime change, be linked to his abduction?

A: There are a lot of things then that come into play when you factor that aspect. In our view we certainly see that his involvement at that rally (MDC rally in Highfield 48 hours before disappearing) as the reason probably why the State panicked.

He advocated vehemently for action and the largest opposition, the MDC, seconded the motion as far as action is concerned. So I am sure that really got the State agitated because already this person (Itai) did not have a significant followership but I am sure if the MDC was  to collaborate with him that would pose a lot of threats to the State.

That in a way, in our view, also triggered the move by the State because we are still insistent, we still hold them responsible and they are a prime suspect as far as his disappearance is concerned and certainly that dimension cannot be ignored. Of course some people have also naively tried to rope in the white guy dimension, Dirk Fray, to say it has something to do with

the West but look, he is just a white guy (and) he is Zimbabwean.

He is entitled to his position —politically and philosophically — and he joined Itai out of his own will. And there is nothing wrong with that although people then try and manufacture unfounded theories out of that.

That’s really unfortunate. But, essentially, Itai represented an idea, an idea which posed a threat to the State and his address at the MDC rally I am sure triggered the State to go a notch higher as far as their persecution of him is concerned and they took him.

And according to some of the information that trickles in, it’s actually at times said to have been a mission that went wrong on their part, the abduction said to have been done by overzealous elements from within the system without necessarily, probably, we don’t know about that, having been sanctioned by authorities and so we then wait to see the unfolding of this matter.

Q: If his abduction is an operation that went wrong, as you might have heard, what does it do to your expectation that Itai is still alive?

A: That certainly renders that prospect a major blow, that extrapolation we have that Itai would return to us. However, in spite of that, we are still holding onto hope. We are not going to let go of hope unless and until we are directed otherwise from a spiritual standpoint.

But as of now we are still holding onto hope even though like I said, on the surface everything points to the fact that he is certainly no more. But, hey, we do believe in God and we know he can do the impossible.