International rights groups petition Mugabe over Dzamara

Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have called on other civic groups in Africa to join them in a plea to President Robert Mugabe to investigate and resolve the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of journalist-cum-human rights activist Itai Dzamara.

by Phyllis Mbanje

In a joint petition expected to be handed over to Mugabe on November 30, the two international human rights groups said the President should direct the government to take all measures necessary to establish the fate and whereabouts of Dzamara, who went missing on March 9 this year.

“We call on you to promptly establish a commission of enquiry into the enforced disappearance of Itai Dzamara and ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility are brought to justice in fair trials. The pro-democracy activist has not been accounted for since his disappearance on March 9, 2015,” the document read.

Missing activist Itai Dzamara
Missing activist Itai Dzamara

The 36-year-old pro-democracy activist was allegedly abducted by suspected State security agents while at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb.

The High Court ordered the ministers of Home Affairs (Ignatius Chombo) and State Security (Kembo Mohadi), the Police Commissioner-General (Augustine Chihuri) and the Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation (Happyton Bonyongwe) to investigate Dzamara’s disappearance and report fortnightly on progress.

“We note that Itai Dzamara had previously been targeted by State security agents, beaten up, abducted and unlawfully detained.
Other activists have been previously abducted in similar manner by unknown perpetrators, who later turned up to be State security agents,” the two groups said.

The human rights organisations said they were concerned with the paucity of detail contained in the reports sent so far by the police to the Registrar of the High Court.

They described the reports as inadequate and perfunctory, providing “no substantive details” of steps taken by the police except to confirm that investigations into Dzamara’s disappearance were underway.

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  1. We add our voices in calling President Mugabe to ensure that the Commissioner General of Police work with reasonable timelines to conclude investigations. If the local police is incompetent there is a basis to request for assistance from the international community. The Zimbabwe government should show seriousness on this issue as it is an affront to a constitutional democracy. A whole person just disappearing just like that without trace. No that’s unacceptable. The perpetrators should be swiftly brought to book so that confidence is restored on the security of citizens and that basic human rights are defended and protected.

  2. Itai Dzamara knows where he is. He will come out of his self imposed splendid hibernation. The government should have any business in tracking those who want to get cheap and stupid political mileage. In fact the government should have business in flushing out pretenders who are bent on soiling the government’s image bot at home and abroad. The MDC-T should be warned the chickens have come home to roast. Sooner this fora would expose each and everyone culpable in this pseudo clandestine operation foolishly done.

  3. my Aunty Brianna just got a great Lexus IS F Sedan just by some parttime working online with a macbook…

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