Itai Dzamara: Two Years On

Activists in Harare yesterday, 09 March 2017, gathered at Freedom Square (Harare Civic Grounds), to commemorate the 2nd year of the disappearance of human rights activist Itai Dzamara.

Missing activist Itai Dzamara

Dzamara was abducted in Glenview 7 on the 9th March 2015 and despite a court injunction ordering the Zimbabwe Republic Police to undertake an investigation to account for the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara, no sound steps have been taken.

Various civil society organisations, social movements and diplomatic missions stationed in Harare weighed in their voice demanding the government to account for the missing activist.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Chairperson Sally Dura said ‘CIZC takes great exception to the continued disappearance of Itai Dzamara who was abducted 2 years ago and has not been accounted for.

‘We implore the government to return Zimbabwe to the rule of law and guarantee the security of its citizens and human rights defenders in particular. We are worried that since the court injunction on police to undertake an investigation on what transpired to Itai Dzamara 2 years on nothing has been done’ said Dura

The Acting Coordinator of the Coalition Memory Kadau indicated that her organisation has since 2015 been implementing the Bring Back Itai Dzamara Campaign (#BBID) and noted that despite the existence of a progressive constitution that guarantees the right to life and personal security, the Government has done little to protect citizens in Zimbabwe.

‘CIZC contends that Dzamara, like any other citizen should be protected by the country’s supreme law and in this regard, we implore the government of Zimbabwe to uphold citizens’ right to life as enshrined under Section 48 of the country’s Constitution.’

‘Furthermore, CIZC contends that the State should uphold Dzamara’s constitutional right to personal liberty (Section 49) and personal security (Section 52)’ said Kadau

Speaking at an event to mark the second year since Dzamara went missing, Pastor Evan Mawarire who is out on bail on charges of trying to subvert a constitutionally elected government urged citizens to join social movements to push the government to uphold democracy.

“It’s now the time for citizens to join any social movements like #Tajamuka and #This Flower to pile pressure on this government to uphold democracy,” urged the cleric.

The occasion was also attended by the brother of the missing human rights defender, Patson Dzamara , Sheffra Dzamara (wife to Itai Dzamara), Itai Dzamara’s mother and the chairman of the Itai Dzamara Foundation and Director of the Devine Destiny Network Bishop Magaya.

Diplomatic missions also issued statements demanding that the Government of Zimbabwe account for the missing activist. The US Embassy in a statement said it remains ‘deeply concerned about Mr. Dzamara’s whereabouts and wellbeing.’

The EU Mission in Zimbabwe also expressed dismay at the apparent absence of progress in this case, while the UK Ambassador to Zimbabwe Her Majesty Catriona Lang in a video message implored Zimbabwean authorities to show their commitment to ensuring the safety of citizens.

Zimbabweans have remained skeptical of government’s commitment to search for Dzamara and there are fears stemming from sentiments by ruling party officials and President Robert Mugabe’s Spokesperson that the ruling party leader was too busy to be bothered by the Dzamara issue.

It is an obligation upon authorities to abide by section 56 (3) of the country’s Constitution which stipulates that every person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as their political affiliation or opinion

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