from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEAN authorities have failed to account for journalist and pro-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara, who went missing exactly eight years ago after his abduction by suspected state agents.
Five men forced him into a vehicle, at a barber shop, accusing him of stealing cattle.
He has never been seen since that day, March 9, 2015.
That was at the height of crackdowns by the then president, Robert Mugabe (now late).
Prior to his abduction, Dzamara had called for former Mugabe to step down and criticized his handling of Zimbabwe’s economy.
Two days before the kidnapping, he had addressed a rally in the capital Harare where he called for mass action to address the deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe.
He had previously been targeted by state security agents, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) beaten, abducted and unlawfully detained.
Amnesty International believes the continued failure of Zimbabwe’s authorities to launch an effective investigation into Dzamara’s disappearance is a travesty of justice that 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 wants to be freed from the agonizing uncertainty they have been subjected to since his disappearance,” Masuka said.
Masuka, said since Dzamara’s disappearance, no meaningful investigation had 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,” Masuka said.
In 2016, then Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, told the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva that the government was actively pursuing the search for Dzamara.
Mnangagwa has been president since 2017 after the military helped oust his former boss, president Mugabe.
– CAJ News