Family of missing Zim activist petitions Mnangagwa, demands closure

2017-12-08 15:32
Itai Dzamara. (Via Facebook)

Itai Dzamara. (Via Facebook)

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Cape Town – Zimbabwean activist Patson Dzamara has urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to launch a thorough investigation into his brother Itai Dzamara's disappearance nearly three years ago.

Itai went missing on March 9, 2015, after bravely staging lone protests calling on former president Robert Mugabe to step down in central Harare's Africa Unity Square.

In his latest attempt in finding justice and solace over his brother, Dzamara has petitioned the new president demanding that he launches an "urgent" and "sincere" investigation into the case of missing Itai and account for his disappearance.

Dzamara said that he was "concerned" over the lack of action from government regarding Itai's  whereabouts.

"To date, nothing has been done to assist us as a family to at least come to a place of closure. Even though Itai Dzamara openly opposed the former government and some of its policies, his security and right to life remains a direct and unquestionable responsibility of the government," said Dzamara.

Lack of progress 

Dzamara maintained that his family was still convinced that state security agents were involved in his brother’s disappearance.

He claimed last year that his brother was abducted by the country's military intelligence under the instruction of Zanu-PF party. This, he alleged, was the reason for the slow pace in finding him.

"From the onset, our position regarding the involvement of state security agents particularly the military intelligence in the abduction of Itai Dzamara has not changed. As you might be aware, Sir, Itai Dzamara petitioned your predecessor, Mr Mugabe to step down for failing to run the country well. Unfortunately, since that day receiving threats on his life from security agents became the norm and he was subjected to serious torture at the hands of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other private sources within your Zanu-PF political party," he said.

The police have previously, however, said they were investigating the activist's disappearance, though the lack of progress drew criticism that it was not a serious inquiry.

Since becoming president, Mnangagwa has called for national reconciliation but has not addressed allegations of human rights violations that occurred during the time that he was a top official in Mugabe's government.

Citywide celebrations 

Mnangagwa was justice minister at the time of Itai's disappearance and did not respond to a letter asking him for help in the case, said Dzamara last month.

Mnangagwa "was part of the government which led Zimbabwe to where it is right now", but should be given a chance to lead the country on a reform path, he said.

Dzamara spoke of the citywide celebrations after Mugabe's resignation was announced during impeachment proceedings by lawmakers against him.

The former reporter's brother joined a jubilant crowd, but this was short lived as he remembered his brother who remained missing.

Dzamara has called on the new president to "immediately issue a statement over Itai Dzamara's disappearance", and also ensure that "your government, through the responsible ministries, engages the Dzamara family and walks with us through this austere experience".

He said that if the president's failed to act on his petition, he would "engage all progressive Zimbabweans within a week and protest in various ways against that in a civil, peaceful and resolute manner as provided for within the Constitution".

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  patson dzamara  |  robert mugabe  |  itai dzamara  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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