By Amelia Johnson|
Propaganda minister Jonathan Moyo has been accused of insensitivity over the way he responded to questions about missing anti-government activist Itai Dzamara during a BBC Hardtalk interview that aired Monday.
Asked by interviewer Stephen Sackur if he knew who had kidnapped the Occupy Africa Unity Square leader, Moyo initially said he did not know. Then he claimed that Dzamara could have gone to another country, an assertion denied by Dzamara’s protest colleagues.
“People disappear every day,” Moyo said. “You are mentioning one person but in fact we have quite some porous borders. A lot of people cross the border without our knowledge.”
Sackur openly disputed Moyo’s version of events.
“This is the man who was staging a sit-in strike against the Mugabe government, who demanded that the President resign, and you are telling me that its just coincidental that he’s disappeared that he may have run off across the border?” Sackur said.
Moyo replied: “Indeed.”
Sackur told Moyo that the Dzamara case represented “another dark cloud hanging over your relationship with those countries including the United States and the European Union who currently impose sanctions upon your government because of your long record of abusing human rights. This is another problem you’ve got”.
Moyo then made a vain attempt to divert attention to events in the US and the UK.
Human rights defenders accused Moyo of being heartless and of trying to cover up for the regime of Robert Mugabe, which is accused of making Dzamara disappear forcibly.
They noted that the activist was a marked man after calling on Mugabe to resign and organizing street protests against the brutal regime.
“Dzamara was kidnapped in broad daylight by people who identified themselves as agents of the state. He even identified one of the kidnappers and shouted his name. It is, therefore, illogical for the government spindoctor Moyo to make the wild claim that he ran across the border. Zanu PF kidnapped Dzamara and they must tell us where he is, not to waffle like Jonathan Moyo did,” said activist Kate Nhema of Consumer Action.
Last week, United States deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs Shannon Smith demanded answers about Dzamara during a meeting with vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Dzamara was kidnapped on March 9 near his home in Glen View 7 by five men in a white Isuzu twin cab with a folded number plate which partially read ABB 2…
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