Zim government has 'no idea' what happened to missing activist

2015-08-23 21:28
Itai Dzamara. (Facebook)

Itai Dzamara. (Facebook)

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Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government insists it still has "no answers" for what happened to an activist who's been missing since March, fending off accusations the authorities masterminded his disappearance, it was reported.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa claimed state security agents were looking for former journalist Itai Dzamara, who was abducted from a barber's shop in the Harare township of Glen View on March 9 and has not been seen since, according to the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).

ZBC quoted Mnangagwa as telling ruling party officials: "Both the police and the CIO [Central Intelligence Organisation] are all out to try and find out what happened. Every single citizen must be protected by the state."

His comments came in the wake of mounting pressure from activists and opposition critics for the authorities to reveal what happened to Dzamara, who had been leading a one-man protest in central Harare calling for the long-time president to stand down.

Human rights groups from across the SADC region this week called on Mugabe, 91, to step up efforts to find the former journalist.

Meanwhile, a senior opposition official has said he believed Dzamara was likely abducted by military intelligence officers and murdered soon afterwards.

In a recent post to his website, Eddie Cross of the Movement for the Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Morgan Tsvangirai said that Dzamara's abduction "did not come as a surprise".

"Itai had become well known for his one man campaign to call for change in Zimbabwe, and in my view he was viewed by the regime as dangerous in that what he was doing could inspire a popular uprising against the State," he said.

But the state broadcaster said on Saturday: "Some political parties are unscrupulously trying to use the disappearance of Dzamara for their gains and Cde Mnangagwa says it is wrong to do so."

Dzamara's disappearance came back to public attention in Zimbabwe during the media frenzy over the killing of Cecil the Lion in Hwange in early July. Zimbabweans sympathetic to the activist's plight asked why so much attention was being paid to the fate of a lion - and very little to that of the former journalist.

Mnangagwa reportedly said Saturday: “We all regret what happened to Itai Dzamara and as government we have no answers."

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  itai dzamara  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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