ZIMBABWE – MISSING democracy activist and former journalist Itai Dzamara’s brother Patson has demanded that President Robert Mugabe makes a public statement on the issue.
Dzamara disappeared on March 9 after allegedly being abducted by suspected State security agents. He had also handed over a petition at Mugabe’s office demanding that the long-serving leader cede power because “he has failed”.
“As Head of State and Government you must order whoever is keeping Itai Dzamara in captivity to release him immediately.
“As Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces you make a commitment and public announcement that the State Security agents shall intensify their efforts in uncovering the mystery surrounding his disappearance and making sure he is released immediately,” Patson said.
“As the President of Zimbabwe and a concerned leader ensure that your Government, through the responsible ministry, engages the Dzamara family and walk with us through this austere experience”.
Patson also demanded that Mugabe engages the family and nation over the issue as happened with the venerated lion Cecil, adding the president needs to respond within a week or risk protests.
The latest petition, also handed to Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, said government seems to have adopted a “relaxed approach towards investigating his disappearance”.
“I am however, concerned and disturbed by the stance assumed by you as the Head of State and by your Government.
“In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which you swore to uphold, defend, obey and respect, you have done little or nothing to observe Section 90 (2) (c) that mandates you to ensure protection of the fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law,” added Patson.
A High Court indictment by human rights lobby groups directed that authorities provide fortnightly updates on the investigations into Dzamara’s disappearance but they now argue the State is in violation of the court order.
Patson said Mugabe’s government has done “little” to provide the family with some closure over the issue.
“In fact, your spokesperson George Charamba indicated that the issue of our missing family member is too small to bother you, a sentiment we felt was irresponsible, insensitive and unfortunate.
“Although Itai openly opposed your Government and some of its policies, his security and right to life remains a direct and unquestionable responsibility of your Government,” the younger Dzamara said.
He added that government would have made headway is it had acted in good faith adding the suspicion of Central Intelligence Organisation operatives in the abduction “still remains”.
“As you might be aware, Sir, Itai petitioned you to step down for failing to run the country well; according to him and since that day he had been receiving threats on his life from the security agents and he was subjected to serious torture at the hands of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other private sources within your Zanu PF political party.
“That, together with various activities he engaged in as an activist within the provisions of the Constitution presented him as a marked man by the State Security system.
He was beaten, arrested and received death threats by State Security agents several times even though his activities were well within his Constitutional rights,” Patson said.
“A human being cannot disappear just like that. Section 49 of the Constitution states that every person has the right to personal liberty, which includes the right not to be deprived of their liberty arbitrarily or without just cause”.