Eight years on, Zanu PF regime still mum on Itai Dzamara whereabouts
Eight years have passed now since journalist and political activist Itai Dzamara was abducted by suspected state security agents on March 15, 2015 in Glen View, Harare.
Several efforts by his wife, Sheffra Dorica, to ascertain his whereabouts from the government have continued to hit a brick wall.
Amnesty International believes the continued failure of Zimbabwe’s authorities to launch an effective investigation into Dzamara’s disappearance is a travesty of justice and that it sends a chilling message about the security of others who demand accountability from the government.
“The failure of Zimbabwean authorities to account for the enforced disappearance of Itai Dzamara, eight years after he was last seen, speaks volumes about the lack of political will to account for him,” said Lucia Masuka, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe.
“The world and Itai Dzamara’s family want truth and justice for his disappearance. His family also want to be freed from the agonising uncertainty they have been subjected to since his disappearance.”
“Today, we join Itai’s family in calling on the Zimbabwean authorities to conduct a thorough, independent, effective, and transparent investigation into Itai Dzamara’s disappearance,” said Masuka.
“Since his disappearance, no meaningful investigation has taken place and his whereabouts remain unknown. We need to see an inquiry with findings that are made public, and suspected perpetrators brought to justice.”
Amnesty International further emphasised its call for government to set up an independent judge-led Commission of inquiry into the circumstances around the abduction of Itai Dzamara, with powers to subpoena witnesses.
The organisation also wants the findings of any inquiry to be made public and those suspected to be brought to justice.
Dzamara was abducted on 9 March 2015 by five men while he was at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb. His abductors are said to have accused him of stealing cattle before hand cuffing him, forcing him into a white truck with concealed number plates, and driving off. He has not been seen since then.
Prior to his abduction, he had called for late former President Robert Mugabe to step down and criticized his handling of Zimbabwe’s economy.
Pro-democracy activist Makomborero Haruzivishe is one of the leading voices demanding that the Zanu-PF government account for the whereabouts of Dzamara.
He wrote on his Twitter handle: “Itai taught us that it is better to die on our feet rather than live on our feet. Itai Dzamara paid the ultimate price for demanding what Nehanda, Kaguvi, Herbert Chitepo and tens of thousands of Zimbabwean youths demanded for in the 1st and 2nd Chimurenga.
“He paid the ultimate price for demanding what millions of us are still demanding today; #NoToCorruption, #ElectoralReforms and a new great Zimbabwe where all citizens’ issues are heard and addressed.
“After we formed the National Youth Action Alliance the masses renamed him Action Dzamara. Itai Dzamara’s legacy, just like his name(a noun translatable to a verb) means ‘Do it until’,” Haruzivishe added.