ZRP should hold security agents accountable!

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) yesterday, March 26, 2018 formally announced on state media that they were searching for missing human rights activist, Itai Dzamara and made an appeal to members of the public with information to assist. Dzamara’s abduction was synonymous of the movie script methods which were used by the dreaded CIO and military personnel during the 2008 bloody election run-off.

Itai Dzamara

It is therefore a surprise announcement by the ZRP, coming three years after Dzamara was abducted by suspected state security agents on March 9, 2015.

It has to be noted that since Dzamara’s disappearance, the ZRP has been frustrating efforts by pro-democracy groups to search for the missing human rights activist and as a result, there were a series of arrests and assaults of the concerned individuals by the law enforcement agents.

To make matters worse, the ZRP went on to defy a High Court order to search for the missing activist and give regular updates to Parliament and former President, Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba event went on to state that the former Head of State was too busy to be occupied with the issue of Dzamara.

Former Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, Jonathan Moyo, initially revealed that Dzamara’s disappearance was stage managed and later on backtracked saying current Vice President, Constantine Chiwenga had a hand in Itai’s abduction.

The Dzamara issue has revealed total disregard of human rights including the inalienable right to life by the state and the recent announcement by the ZRP points to a well coordinated plan (since Dzamara’s disappearance) to sweep the issue under the carpet.

Zimbabwe has a well documented history of abduction of opposition and civic society activists and these abductions are mainly instigated by the state and ZRP’s shocking announcement that they have now begun the search for Dzamara-three years later- confirms or long held suspicion that the State had a hand in his disappearance.

Abductions and torture of opposition and civic society activists in Zimbabwe dates back as far as 1980 and the ruling party, Zanu (PF) has over the years abused its stranglehold on state institutions and the judiciary to sweep the matters under the carpet.

The recent announcement by the ZRP is thus a desperate attempt to manage public perception as well as the perception of the international community.

Itai Dzamara’s brother, Partson, in an interview with the Crisis Report said that the announcement by the ZRP was an insult.

“When Itai was abducted, the police told us they could not do anything as the matter had political implications. The recent announcement by the police is an insult to us as a family and all concerned Zimbabweans. They have not been willing to search for Itai and now, what has changed after three years? Ultimately, what is critical to note is that from the onset I categorically stated that Itai’s abduction was instigated by the military intelligence. There is no sincerity on the part of the authorities to search for Itai,” said Partson.

Itai Dzamara’s colleague and Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) member, Charles Chidhakwa said, “It is unfortunate that the police think they can suddenly turn around and give us an impression that they are concerned about Dzamara’s disappearance when they have gone to an extent of defying a court order to search for Itai.

“They (ZRP) must know that we are not only concerned about Itai but all the people who were abducted by the state since time immemorial as well as the issue of torture and murder of pro-democracy activists by state security agents and Zanu (PF) activists”.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) calls for a public inquest over the issue of Dzamara and we implore the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) as well as the judiciary to be actively involved in the search for Itai and give regular updates to Parliament.

We therefore insist that the security agents should return back Itai Dzamara, rather than police calling for members of the public to ‘assist’ with investigation! Period!

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