Friday 8 March 2024


AMNESTY International (AI) has called on the government to come clean on the whereabouts of pro-democracy activist and journalist, Itai Dzamara, who was abducted by alleged State security agents and disappeared nine years ago.

Dzamara was abducted on March 9, 2015 by five men while he was at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb.

He has never been seen since.

AI’s deputy regional director for east and southern Africa, Vongai Chikwanda said failure by the government to launch a genuine investigation into Dzamara’s disappearance sends a chilling message to pro-democracy activists.

“His family needs closure from the agonising uncertainty they have been subjected to. The feeling of insecurity and fear that his disappearance has generated is not limited to his close relatives, but also affects the broader civil society community,” Chikwanda said.

“AI reiterates its call for the government to set up an independent, judge-led Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Dzamara’s abduction, with powers to subpoena witnesses.

“The findings must be made public and those suspected of criminal responsibility should be brought to justice in fair trials. Members of the public with information to contribute to the Commission through submissions must be allowed to do so and the authorities must ensure their safety and protection.”

Dzamara had addressed a rally in Harare on March 7, 2015 two days before he was made to vanish where he called for mass action against the late former President Robert Mugabe.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson, Marvelous Kumalo said government was guilty as charged for failure to account for Dzamara.

“Due to their failure to address the issue, we are forced to suspect that the first and second Republic are but one thing,” Kumalo said.

“We are disappointed as CiZC that even apart from the promises by (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa that during his tenure as Minister of Justice and leader of government business back then in Parliament, he rose through the ranks to become the Vice President and now the President . . . he has [in his three portfolios] still failed together with his government to account for Dzamara whereabouts.

NewsDay could not get a comment from Dzamara’s wife Sheffra, as she did not pick up her calls by the time of going to print.

In 2016, Sheffra, in the company of Itai’s late brother, Patson, submitted a petition to the United Nations Children’s Fund over her husbands’ disappearance.

In 2020, she penned an emotional open letter to President Emmerson Mnangagwa begging him to use his powers to find Dzamara.

The United Nations during the 10th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy in Switzerland on February 20, 2018 implored the government to probe Dzamara’s disappearance. Newsday


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