HARARE – The brother and wife of abducted journalist Itai Dzamara on Monday presented a petition to President Robert Mugabe demanding that the Zanu PF government take action and release or locate his whereabouts.
Patson Dzamara and Itai’s wife Sheffra expressed concern at what they feel is the “relaxed approach towards investigating his disappearance” by the government and the failure by Mugabe as Head of State to show any interest in the matter.
Itai Dzamara was abducted on the 9th of March this year and has now been missing for 168 days. The state security agency the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) are the chief suspects given that Dzamara had been demonstrating at the African Unity Square demanding Mugabe’s resignation.
Below is the full petition written by Patson Dzamara and delivered to Mugabe’s Munhumutapa Offices in the capital Harare.
President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe
Samora Machel Ave
Speaker of Parliament
Mr Jacob Mudenda
Nelson Mandela Ave
23 August, 2015
RE: PETITION OVER ITAI DZAMARA’S DISAPPEARANCE
My name is Patson Dzamara, the brother to Itai Dzamara. I am a Zimbabwean man aged 29 years. I am presenting a position and demand on behalf of my family and many others concerned, including progressive Zimbabweans, over the disappearance of Itai Dzamara.
We are also concerned about the stance of your Government, which we feel has adopted a relaxed approach towards investigating his disappearance.
Itai Dzamara was abducted and went missing on the 9th of March 2015 and we are still oblivious of what happened or is happening to him. Today marks one hundred and sixty seven (168) days since his disappearance.
I am however concerned and disturbed by the stance assumed by you as the Head of State and by your Government.
In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which you swore to uphold, defend, obey and respect, you have done little or nothing to observe Section 90 (2) (c) that mandates you to ensure protection of the fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law.
To date, you, as the Head of State and your Government at large, have done little to assist us as a family to at least come to a place of closure. In fact, your spokesperson Mr. George Charamba indicated that the issue of our missing family member is too small to bother you, a sentiment we felt was irresponsible, insensitive and unfortunate.
Although Itai Dzamara openly opposed your Government and some of its policies, his security and right to life remains a direct and unquestionable responsibility of your Government.
Ever since Itai Dzamara’s disappearance, a lot has transpired and various theories have been promulgated. However and in spite of that, I am of the view that by now some headway would have been made if everyone involved and concerned acted in good faith, especially the Government through the responsible ministry, the Ministry of Home Affairs.
From the onset, there has been suspicion of the involvement of State Security agents in the abduction of Itai Dzamara and that position has not changed. As you might be aware, Sir, Itai Dzamara petitioned you to step down for failing to run the country well, according to him and since that day he had been receiving threats on his life from the security agents 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.
That, together with various activities he engaged in as an activist within the provisions of the Constitution presented him as a marked man by the State Security system. He was beaten, arrested and received death threats by State Security agents several times even though his activities were well within his Constitutional rights.
As highlighted above, today marks 167 days since Itai Dzamara was abducted. A human being cannot disappear just like that. Section 49 of the Constitution states that every person has the right to personal liberty, which includes the right not to be deprived of their liberty arbitrarily or without just cause. Furthermore, the Constitution grants Itai Dzamara the right to personal security and protects him from all forms of violence from public or private sources.
I am thoroughly convinced, Sir, that with your assistance and that of your Government, in good faith, we can make some headway on this matter.
I am hopeful that Itai Dzamara is still alive and he must be released from this unjustified and unconstitutional captivity.
I hereby make the following demands:
1) That as the President of Zimbabwe sworn to protect every citizen, you should immediately issue a statement over Itai Dzamara’s disappearance.
2) That as the Head of State and Government you order whoever is keeping Itai Dzamara in captivity to release him immediately.
3) That as the Head of State and Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces make a commitment and public announcement that the State Security agents shall intensify their efforts in uncovering the mystery surrounding Itai Dzamara’s disappearance and making sure he is released immediately.
4) That as the President of Zimbabwe and a concerned leader ensure that your Government, through the responsible ministry engages the Dzamara family and walk with us through this austere experience.
5) That your Government through the relevant ministry take the responsibility to engage the Dzamara family and the nation at large on this issue the same way it engaged whoever was concerned when Cecil the Lion was killed. Itai Dzamara’s disappearance cannot be treated as not being important.
My position is backed by many concerned Zimbabweans, who, like myself, await your response on this matter.
In the event that you choose to ignore my demand and request, I shall 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.
It defies logic and reason for my brother to disappear without a trace in a nation that is not at war and allow that to go unnoticed and unquestioned.
Lastly, Sir, l beg of you to appreciate my legitimate demand and treat it with the urgency it deserves as a responsible leader.
Looking forward to your response.