THE release of an effigy alleged to be that of missing MDC-T journalist-cum-activist Itai Dzamara by his family last week was meant to coincide with the Occupy Africa Unity Square Movement that has since flopped.
It has also emerged that the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) was busy engaging artists to do Dzamara artwork that they intended to use as a lobby tool to portray what they called: “the state of human rights and absence of rule of law in Zimbabwe”.
Itai’s brother, Patson released a grainy picture at a press conference last week showing a laptop with an image of a bandaged man sitting at the bottom of a staircase, with a white man – whose face is hidden from camera – holding the laptop.
At the press conference, Patson claimed without providing evidence that his brother was abducted by military intelligence, a claim that has since been dismissed by the Zimbabwe National Army.
In a memo by CiZC programmes manager, Memory Kadau to CiZC acting director, McDonald Lewanika on May 6, 2015, she said: “This memo serves to inform you that the programmes department, after a thorough search and adjudication process finally commissioned black Phar-l and Ropafadzo Mutemeri to do the Itai Dzamara artwork, which shall be used locally and regionally as a lobby tool on the state of human rights and absence of rule of law in Zimbabwe. The artwork will also reflect non-respect of constitutionalism by the government of Zimbabwe through enforced disappearances.”
The non-governmental organisation committed to pay $3,000 for the artwork.
Sources said the release of the image purported to be Itai by his brother on Monday last week, was meant to coincide with the Occupy Africa Unity Square campaign staged by activists from the Zimbabwe Activists’ Alliance, Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance and members of the Occupy Africa Unity Square Movement that started on Wednesday contrary to claims by coordinator of the event, Lynette Mudehwe, that they wanted it to coincide with the day of the African Child that is commemorated on June 16 every year.
Political analyst and lawyer Tendai Toto said it was clear that the two events were stage-managed. “This is an event that is created to justify resumption of campaigns on the matter in order to put more pressure on government authorities to employ more efforts to investigate the disappearance of Dzamara.
“It’s unfair to Dzamara himself wherever he is, to dramatise his life and liberty. This mocks his right to life and dignity,” said Toto.
Another political analyst Professor Sheunesu Mupepereki said the release of Itai’s alleged picture in detention and the Occupy Africa Unity Square was posturing meant to draw attention for monetary gains. “Instead of being anti-government they should come up with real issues about how challenges of development can be addressed.
“Playing politics like in this case will be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. We respect the dignity of human life but in this case, these people have proved that they can sell their grandmothers to make money. Nothing can stop them from selling Dzamara to make money. In fact, they have proved that they know where he is.
“These people are just trying to raise their profiles because they’ve nothing to offer by way of ideas,” he said.
Mudehwe yesterday said: “The occupation is about the plight of the suffering Zimbabweans that the government must address and not about individuals. We saw the pictures in the media like everyone else.”
Patson said: “There is nothing to say on that. There is no relationship between the two.”
Itai went missing last year in March with the police saying he was allegedly abducted by three male adults who entered a barbershop where he had gone to have a haircut in Harare and advised him that he was under arrest for stock theft. herald