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Update on Itai Dzamara abduction: OAUS

HARARE – The following is a statement issued by the Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) protest movement following the arrest of its leader, journalist turned activist, Itai Dzamara.

Journalist Itai Dzamara
Journalist turned activist Itai Dzamara

The facts of the case as it stands:

On Monday at around 10am, Itai Dzamara was abducted from a barber’s shop in his neighbourhood by five (5) men, who handcuffed him and accused him of stock theft. They had been noticed driving around his neighbourhood in two vehicles:

A white truck, possibly an Isuzu, with the license plate AAM 1732
A white Nissan hard-body (twincab) with license plate starting with ABB 2.

Itai was wearing black shorts, a white and red top, blue and brown sandals and was half-shaved.

A report has been filed at his local police station and on the basis of that, the lawyers for the Dzamara family have filed an urgent High Court application for the State to produce Itai Dzamara. If he stand accused of anything, he has the right to a lawyer and to defend himself in court. If there is no accusation, they have no right to detain him.

In light of this, we continue to demand that whoever has Itai Dzamara return him unharmed. We call on the State in the form of the Police and other security agencies to swiftly determine where Itai is being held, by whom, and to secure his release.

Lastly, there have been rumours circulating that have little or no basis in truth. The first was that some of Itai’s colleagues may have had a hand in his disappearance.

It is highly unlikely that any of our partners, who have been fighting by our sides and running risks along with us, would so easily throw away the gains of the struggle. We have no reason to doubt their loyalty to the cause for a better Zimbabwe. Therefore we dismiss those allegations until and unless proof is offered.

Secondly, there had been a report that there has been a body found at the Goromonzi turn-off. We dispatched a team there today to investigate in person.

After questioning people in the area as well as the Goromonzi and Ruwa police, we established that no body had been found there at all, and as such the report is simply an unsubstantiated rumour which has turned out to be false.

We have no reason not to believe Itai Dzamara is alive in captivity, and continue to demand his release.