By Peter Bolder|
The case of kidnapped journalist and pro-democracy campaigner Itai Dzamara will come into sharp focus next week when United States deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs Shannon Smith visits Zimbabwe, activists said.
Smith will be in Zimbabwe May 12-16, accompanied by Steven Feldstein, deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and will meet US embassy staff, government representatives, business, opposition parties and civil society, said a spokesperson.
“The visit will enable officials to hear first-hand from representatives of government, representatives of opposing political parties, and civil society organizations about issues including human rights, democracy and governance since the adoption of Zimbabwe’s constitution in May 2013,” US Embassy spokesperson Karen Kelley said in a statement.
The Dzamara case is expected to dominate a panel discussion on human rights reporting in Zimbabwe at Alliance Francais on Wednesday, May 13 (4-6 pm). Feldstein will join victim of abduction and state torture Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe Peace Project and Abel Chikomo, director of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. Activists said they would raise the Dzamara issue during the meetings and ask Washington to put pressure on Robert Mugabe’s regime to provide answers on the fate of the missing activist. Dzamara was kidnapped in Harare by men who claimed to be state agents on March 9 2015 and has not been seen nor heard from since. He was abducted after previously being brutally tortured and left for dead by police, intelligence operatives and Zanu PF militia after calling on Mugabe to step down for failing to run the economy. Mugabe (91) has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since independence from Britain in 1980.
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