Today, March 9, 2018 marks exactly 3 years since the enforced disappearance of pro-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara who was abducted by suspected state security agents in Glen View, Harare.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) takes great exception to the government’s apparent insincerity as far as the search for the missing activist is concerned. The safety and security of each and every citizen is a responsibility of the government. We therefore call for the government of Zimbabwe to account on his whereabouts.
Despite a High Court order compelling the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to search for the missing activist and give regular updates, his whereabouts remains a mystery and no updates have been given by the law enforcement agents up to now.
The complete disregard of the court order by the ZRP is a huge cause for concern.
Moreover, the ZRP has on several instances frustrated efforts by Dzamara’s family and other concerned groups and individuals to raise alarm and intensify the search for the missing activist.
To add on to this, former President, Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba at one time publicly announced that Mugabe was too busy to concentrate on the issue of Dzamara.
The abduction of Dzamara shows blatant disregard of human rights as he was victimized for publicly opposing former President, Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF’s) misrule yet the country’s constitution guarantees the right to demonstrate and petition under Section 59.
As we mark 3 years since Dzamara’s enforced disappearance, CiZC challenges the Head of State and Government, President Emmerson Mnangagwa to honor his pledge, during the United Nations Universal Periodic Review meeting in Geneva in 2016, that government would actively pursue the search for Dzamara.
His silence since his inauguration as the country’s President in November 2017 points to total lack of sincerity and indifference to the light of the Dzamara family.
Despite numerous calls by the Dzamara family for President Mnangagwa to push for the search of Itai, there has not been any positive feedback from the new administration and this indeed is a huge cause for concern.
The failure by the Zimbabwean government to lead in the search for Dzamara paints a negative picture on the country’s human rights record and this is further worsened by the fact that Zimbabwe has a history of enforced disappearances which are mainly perpetrated by the State.
A number of opposition as well as civic society activists have been abducted in the past and some of them (for example Patrick Nabanyama and Paul Chizuze) remain unaccounted for and government has totally failed to act in the search for these missing activists.
CiZC implores the Zimbabwean government to desist from using force as well as elimination tactics to silence dissenting voices and ensure that the constitution is respected and upheld.
State brutality has no place in a modern democracy and CiZC is concerned that the State has been the biggest culprit as far as issues of human rights abuses is concerned.