By Veneranda Langa
HARARE – Two young children — apparently looking for comfort — take turns to sit on the lap of their mother, Sheffra Dzamara who has now spent more than a month looking for her husband Itai Dzamara who was abducted by suspected State security agents on March 9.
The older of the two, a seven-year-old boy intermittently sucked his thumb as he gazed at the members from the MDC-T Assembly of Women who had brought groceries for the family at their house in Glen Norah on Friday.
The younger one, a three-year-old girl looked innocently as she sat on the lap of chairperson of the MDC-T Assembly of Women Lynette Karenyi while her mother narrated Dzamara’s ordeal at the hands of his abductors.
“Before my husband [Itai Dzamara] was abducted on March 9, we saw two very suspicious twin cab trucks continuously roving around the vicinity of our house on March 5,” Sheffra said.
“I only managed to record number plates of one of the vehicles, AAM 1732, but I could only see part of the number plates of the other vehicle, which were ABB 2.”
Dzamara’s wife said she noted that there were three men inside the vehicles.
She said the day he was abducted, Itai had gone for his usual hair cut at a barber shop near where they stayed not knowing that he was being hunted as an outspoken democracy activist.
“I was busy doing my chores when some people called me and said I should go to the barber shop because there was a problem. The people there narrated to me that the men in the twin cab had pretended that they were looking for a thief.
“The men then asked a child nearby to identify if the person having a haircut was Itai, and when the child answered in the affirmative, they then arrested my husband and bundled him into their vehicle,” She said.
Almost in tears, Sheffra said that was the last time she saw her husband.
She is now struggling to fend for their family as her husband was the sole breadwinner.
“This incident severely affects me as an unemployed woman who had been surviving through support from my husband who was a journalist,” she said.
“I am a mother of two very young children and one of them has not even started school. I do not even know how I can take care of the children now that their father has been abducted and they have a very long way to start and complete their education.”
Sheffra said her survival together with the two children to date had been very difficult, and it was through different well-wishers such as sympathetic neighbours and opposition political parties such as the MDC-T.
Dzamara’s wife said her husband’s family had been very supportive, both financially and emotionally at a time when she was heartbroken and did not know where to start.
“I have a very strong feeling in my heart that my husband is alive and that God is on his side and is taking care of him in the hands of his abductors. I keep praying for him, and several people have prayed with me for him,” she said.
Sheffra said it was very inhumane and unfair, as well as unlawful, to detain someone and deprive a family of a husband and father.
“If my husband is a thief – like what the abductors said when they took him – then the lawful thing to do is to take him to the courts where he will be tried and jailed if found guilty,” she said.
“At least as a family we will know where he is. I feel it would be better for me and the kids to visit him in jail as compared to not knowing his whereabouts. If he is innocent, they must release him because his family needs him.”
Sheffra said her son, who is currently in Grade Two, was now able to sense that there was something wrong and that his father was missing.
“The boy often says if his father were to come back he would run in happiness and hug him. The girl often asks when her dad will come back home with a packet of chips because he was a good father who used to bring goodies to the children after work,” she said.
Dzamara’s wife said she was now living in fear for her life as well after the abduction of her husband.
“I am very scared because I actually saw the men who were moving around and whom I strongly suspect abducted my husband. I am even scared to go visiting friends, and even to move around in the city centre, or to go shopping. I am no longer free and am not living a normal life due to fear,” she said.
One of Dzamara’s sisters who did not want to be identified fearing for her life, said the whole family was severely affected by the abduction and pleaded for the release of her brother.
“We miss him as a brother and appeal to those who abducted him to release him. If there is a crime that he committed, then they should take him to court as per the requirements of the law,” she said. Standard