THE “ghost” of missing journalist-cum-human rights activist Itai Dzamara yesterday came back to haunt President Robert Mugabe’s government when hundreds of angry protesters threatened to storm Parliament Building to express their displeasure at State security agencies’ lack of urgency in investigating the matter.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/VENERANDA LANGA
Anti-riot police and protestors faced off for over 30 minutes as tension swelled, with the angry crowd demanding to enter the building, where the matter also generated heated debate as opposition MPs queried why Dzamara remained unaccounted for a year after his alleged abduction by suspected State security agents.
The toyi-toying placard-waving demonstrators brought business to a halt in the central business district as they approached the Zanu PF headquarters, State security offices at Chaminuka Building and Munhumutapa Building.
They sang songs castigating Mugabe’s continued rule, accusing him of totally failing to protect citizens’ rights.
The march, which lasted for over two hours, went uninterrupted from Africa Unity Square through downtown along Jason Moyo Avenue, Rotten Row, Samora Machel Avenue and into Sam Nujoma Street then back to Africa Unity Square, where demonstrators were later blocked from entering Parliament Building.
Main opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe and Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy leader Temba Mliswa were among several civic leaders and activists who marched through the city centre in solidarity with Dzamara family members.
Tsvangirai said Mugabe was afraid of his own people, while accusing him of misrule and urging him to accept failure.
“Why should this regime resort to violence whenever the people of Zimbabwe want to express themselves? What are you afraid of? They are afraid of deprivation and the poverty that is now rampant that they caused. They are afraid of how they destroyed the economy and the levels of unemployment they caused,” Tsvangirai said.
“Why should a government be afraid of its own people? I say from now on, as we remember Itai’s disappearance, all we are calling for is to put closure to Itai’s case. We will demand from this government and we will hound this government for ever and ever until it releases Itai to us alive or dead.”
Several embassies, including Canada, the United States and the European Union, said more should be done to ensure Dzamara is accounted for.
In the National Assembly, Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) asked for permission from the House to introduce a motion on Dzamara’s disappearance as a matter of public importance, but was ruled out of order by Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda.
However, Khupe brought back the issue and asked Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa to explain government efforts in finding him.
Mnangagwa said government was also concerned about Dzamara’s whereabouts.