Mudenda Blocks Debate on Dzamara in Parly

Mugabe Police Condemned Over Dzamara

Now Daily

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Speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda has been condemned for blocking debate on the case of missing journalist and fiery critic of dictator Robert Mugabe Itai Dzamara.

Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai policy chief and Kuwadzana MP Nelson Chamisa wanted to instigate the debate on a ‘point of privilege’ but was barred by Mudenda, who demanded to see his written statement before he could read it in the National Assembly on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of Dzamara’s disappearance.

Several MPs wore white ribbons in Dzamara’s memory while in a park outside parliament demonstrators poured vitriol on the government for not making any progress in the search for the missing activist. Vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa told parliament the government did not have any information on his whereabouts.

Civil rights campaigners have condemned the police for failing to make any headway in the court-sanctioned search for Dzamara.

“It is saddening to note that while in March 2015, High Court Judge Justice David Mangota issued an order directing authorities to investigate, establish his whereabouts and update his family and lawyers on progress, this has not been fully complied with,” said the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), whose members represent the missing man.

The lawyers said they are “very concerned” that reports submitted by the Zimbabwe Republic Police on the progress of investigations into the Dzamara case show “very little progress if at all”.

“We condemn the lack of progress made in investigating the human rights violations highlighted by the abduction and enforced disappearance of Itai Dzamara, Paul Nabanyama and Patrick Chizuze and in punishing those responsible. Those responsible for disappearing these citizens have committed a heinous crime under international law. We cannot imagine the full extent of the horrors they have endured. Today and every day, we call on Zimbabwean authorities to do more to bring the missing persons home,” ZLHR said.

Opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume also condemned the police inaction.

“We are saying no to state-sponsored abductions and no to human rights abuses by state institutions. The police must step up their efforts to find Itai Dzamara,” Ngarivhume said.

Occupy Africa Unity Square which Dzamara led expressed “displeasure and concern over the lack of progress in the Dzamara case”.

Heavily armed anti-riot police faced off with hundreds of protesters who poured onto the streets of Harare Wednesday to vent their fury against dictator Robert Mugabe, whose Zanu PF party and state security agents were named unequivocally on Wednesday by Dzamara’s brother Patson as being behind the kidnapping and forced disappearance of the firebrand pro-democracy campaigner.

The placard-waving demonstrators, who included iconic victim of forced disappearance and brutal state torture Jestina Mukoko, who was honoured by United States president Barack Obama, chanted slogans denouncing Mugabe.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, also a victim of abduction and state torture joined the march, along with party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, who addressed the gathering alongside Yard leader Temba Mliswa.

It has been a year since Dzamara was seized by armed men near his home in Harare’s teeming Glen Norah township and bundled into an unmarked truck which sped off with him. Dzamara has not been seen nor heard from ever since.

His family, protest colleagues, lawyers and Western diplomats have made impassioned pleas to the authorities to find the missing activist, to no avail. Government officials have cynically suggested that Dzamara fled the country while the police tried to ban Wednesday’s demonstrations. The march only happened after High Court judge Clement Phiri ordered the police to keep off.

Dzamara’s wife Sheffra and brother Patson Dzamara have told the media that they believe the missing Occupy Africa Unity Square leader is alive but in captivity somewhere. They demanded action from the police to find him. Patson Dzamara dismissed claims by state officials that his brother had staged his own disappearance in order to make money.

Dzamara became a target of the Mugabe regime after he sent the president a petition asking him to leave office for failing to run the economy, now with a jobless rate of 96 percent, mostly the youth. Dzamara became a hero of the oppressed youth, gathering small groups in Africa Unity Square, a Harare park opposite parliament building, a few metres from Mugabe’s office, and waving protest banners. The activist was brutally attacked by the police and Mugabe’s Zanu PF party thugs several times and ended up in hospital but pressed on upon his release. At the time of his disappearance, Dzamara had struck strategic alliances with most Zimbabwean opposition leaders and was planning mass protests to force Mugabe to resign.

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