Police in contempt of court over Dzamara

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Police have in the past month failed to submit two fortnightly High Court-ordered progress reports regarding the search for missing pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara, NewsDay has been told.

by Staff Reporter

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who are representing Dzamara’s family, allege police have gone for a month without updating the State on how far investigations into the disappearance of the activist over two months ago have gone.

ZLHR spokesperson Kumbirai Mafunda said it was unfortunate police were not respecting a court order which was unheard of in a law-abiding democratic society.

“As far as we know, the police have been in contempt of the court order for two times. The High Court ruled that they must submit a fortnight report with the registrar of the court, but we have not seen that,” Mafunda said.

A team of top police officers led by the head of CID Law and Order section, Assistant Commissioner Crispen Makedenge, has been tasked to work with lawyers representing the interests of the family in searching for Dzamara.

The journalist-cum-human rights activist was “abducted” on March 9, two days after he had addressed an MDC-T rally in Highfield, Harare, where he called for mass action against President Robert Mugabe.

After his disappearance, the family, assisted by human rights lawyers, went to the courts demanding that the activist be released wherever he was being held with Justice David Mangota ordering the police and the State security apparatus to do all they can to have Dzamara located.

Charles Kwaramba, one of the lawyers representing the family, said they had now filed contempt of court charges against the police for failing to do as directed by the courts.

“We are just waiting for the matter to be set down for hearing because we have argued that the State is not doing enough to locate Dzamara. We want the court to help us and the traumatised family get justice at the end of it all,” Kwaramba said.

Before the disappearance, which the family has blamed on the State and its security organs, Dzamara was vocal against the ruling regime, demanding that Mugabe resigns.

The family has accused police of not doing anything to locate Dzamara.

National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could not be reached for comment yesterday.