Abducted activist's wife cries for help

HARARE - After three days of strenuous denials by the government on the whereabouts and welfare of abducted political activist Itai Dzamara, speculation was rife yesterday that he was detained at a police station in Harare as his wife made a passionate plea for his abductors to release him.

But Charles Kwaramba of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who is representing Dzamara, told the Daily News last night that they had not found the maverick government critic when they went to Harare Central Police Station.

“I can confirm that we also received the tip-offs that Itai was being held at the Harare Central Police Station, but the police told us he was not in their custody when we got there,” he said.

And as the anger among Zimbabweans regarding Dzamara’s abduction continued to mount, his distraught wife, Sheffa, made an emotional plea to his abductors yesterday to release him, saying the couple’s minor children were in distress and crying for their father to come back home.

At the same time, there was universal condemnation of the abduction within Zimbabwe and among the international community — with riot police assaulting hundreds of MDC youths who marched and petitioned Parliament for Dzamara’s immediate release yesterday.

The 36-year-old journalist, was abducted from a barber shop in Harare’s high density suburb of Glen View on Monday morning by some unidentified men, suspected to be State security agents, who were travelling in a white twin cab vehicle with a blurred registration number plate.

Upon abducting Dzamara, the captors reportedly and bizarrely accused him of having stolen a beast before bundling him into their vehicle.

Since his disappearance four days ago, his mobile phone has been switched off and he has not had any contact with his wife, family members and friends, and is being held incommunicado even from his lawyers — which is against the tenets of the law.

The emotional Sheffa, who was in the company of her brother-in-law Patson, told the Daily News that she was appealing to the country’s leaders and to the conscience of her husbands’ abductors to “search their humanity” and release him unharmed.

“Please release my husband alive because his children are still young and they still need their father,” the grief-stricken Sheffa pleaded, choking with emotion.

The 32-year-old mother of two also revealed that her children aged seven and three were struggling to cope with their father’s absence.

“My seven-year-old who is in Grade 2 is aware of the fact that his father is not there. He asks frequently after his father and it is clear that he is greatly disturbed by his father’s absence,” she said.

Sheffa said life had been unbearable for the family since her husband’s abduction — particularly since Dzamara was the family’s sole bread winner.

“It is terrible, and I am actually being assisted by my brothers-in-law,” she said.

Sheffa also said she believed that her husband’s abduction was planned because a few days earlier she had spotted two vehicles, an Isuzu and Nissan twin cab, circling her home.

“The vehicles made at least five rounds and immediately my suspicions were aroused because I know that my husband is a targeted man. I even took the number plate of the white Isuzu truck.

“When my husband was then abducted, I was told that a car with five people came for him. Since that day, I haven’t heard a word from him or about him,” Sheffa said.

Expounding on her suspicion that the government was behind the abduction, she said, “Authorities once told him one day gava richadambura musungo (we will get you one day)”.

Patson, who is Itai’s young brother, also took issue with the fact that Dzamara had not been allowed to contact his family or legal counsel since he was abducted.

“It is over 48 hours and we have not heard from him, and neither have we heard anything from the authorities,” he complained.

Patson said he suspected the abduction was linked to Itai’s speech at an MDC rally last weekend where he called on Zimbabweans to protest against the worsening economic and political climate in the country.

“On Saturday, it was made clear that the MDC were taking him on board and I think that’s what triggered them to abduct him.

“His speech was that Zimbabweans must take action and that is what triggered their response,” Patson said.

He also told the Daily News that the family was following all leads that they were being given by members of the public in their efforts to locate his brother.

“We heard about the Goromonzi dead body and we went there and confirmed it was not him. Some are saying he is being held in Braeside and others say in Mataga, while some are even suggesting Botswana.

“As a family, we are appealing to the conscience of whoever is responsible to bring him back as he is a father and a person who is trying to add his voice to development in his country.

“Zimbabwe belongs to Zimbabweans. Is (opposition leader Morgan) Tsvangirai or (President Robert) Mugabe bigger than the nation?” he asked rhetorically.

Tsvangirai savaged Mugabe and his Zanu PF government on Tuesday, accusing them of being behind the brazen, broad-daylight abduction of Dzamara.

Describing the abduction as “morbid” and “callous”, he added that Zimbabweans now “feared for the worst” for Dzamara — who is best known for bravely leading the Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) initiative from the front, which has seen the activist being incarcerated and viciously assaulted by police on several occasions.

“The callous abduction of Itai Dzamara has come as a complete shock to me, to the MDC and to Zimbabweans at large. Only yesterday, we heard he was abducted from a hair salon and driven away in an Isuzu vehicle by five unknown men.

“To the MDC family, his abduction and disappearance comes as a shock because at our rally at Zimbabwe Grounds on Saturday, he gave a solidarity speech in which he supported our call for action and protests against the deteriorating situation in the country.

“We are in no doubt as to the perpetrators of this abduction. We hold Mugabe and his regime responsible for this morbid and senseless act.

The president, who is also AU and Sadc chair, cannot preside over a country where innocent citizens get abducted and disappear,” Tsvangirai said.

He cited the recent controversial statement by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was quoted saying that he was trained to shoot and kill, as symptomatic of the violent tendencies of the leaders of Zanu PF.

“It is no wonder that with such reckless and misguided talk from the top leadership of the country, an innocent Zimbabwean is abducted in very suspicious circumstances.

“We hold the State culpable. We hold Zanu PF responsible. We demand a full investigation and arrests of the culprits so that Zimbabweans can live in the comfort that we have a government that cares and takes seriously its responsibility to protect citizens.

“The circumstances of Dzamara’s abduction are very familiar to the MDC family, which has lost many cadres in similar circumstance. Tonderai Ndira, Tichaona Chiminya, Beta Chokururama and many others have been abducted and in most cases found murdered.

“In 2008, many MDC activists were maimed, raped or murdered and seven years later, no single arrest has been made in connection with the crimes.

“Today, in an almost similar script, Dzamara is abducted in broad daylight and that is why we fear for the worst. We thought this country had moved on and was past these barbaric and shameful acts. We thought we had moved to full civilisation but it appears the leopard has remained faithful to its spots,” Tsvangirai said.

He added that Dzamara’s abduction was “a morbid message to Zimbabweans, to Sadc, to Africa and the broader international community that the demon is back, that violence remains very much part of our political culture”.

“We all know that Dzamara has been leading public but constitutional protests against the government, for which he has previously been brutally attacked by State security agents. For us, there is no wonder as to the identity of the people behind his abduction and disappearance.

“Zimbabweans should join us in demanding that the truth be revealed about what has happened to this innocent man. We in the MDC demand nothing short of a full investigation and the immediate arrest of the perpetrators of this barbaric act,” he said.


Comments (21)

Its a touching story. Lets stage a National protest for Dzamara's earliest safe release.

zero - 12 March 2015

Robert G Mugabe who are an evil monster, son of the devil. Release him even his body if you have killed him. Mugabe you are inhuman sisikamu remunhu. Are you not ashamed of yourself at that advanced age but still thinking like an animal. Mugabe bvuma kukura. Dzamara akakuudza chokwadi chausingadi kuudzwa. Nxa mhani kura mhani iwe kamudhara iwe. Release him why waste state resources on Dzamara. He is a father like you. One day is one day

Gushaaz - 12 March 2015

are you saying Mugabe sanctioned the abduction of Dzamara, if thats that you are thinking then your dead brains are as good as buried.pursue other avenues because its not Zpf's handiwork but someone in the MDC T camp who fears the emergence of the guy might spell doom for his/her political carrer. FOREVER ZRP FIRE LINKS

fire links - 12 March 2015

Emerson Mnangagwe you are a fool. Whom to you want to fool here. Were you not the same guys who talked nonsense when you abducted Jestin Mukoko. The blood of innocent souls is in your hands, Idiot

Gushaaz - 12 March 2015

@ fire links I dont have time to waste with you coz wakamama pfungwa wakasiya ndove mumusoro mako. Who are the masters of rape, abductions, torture, murdering name all sorts of evilness that has happened in Zim its either Smith or Mugabe just common sense will educate you

Gushaaz - 12 March 2015

ko mamboedza kumutsvaga ku CIO here pamwe ari muma torture chambers avo. Kana wakamira pa bus terminus that is opposite the Central Police station with your back towards the police station the torture offices re diagonally opposite on the right t the corner of the two streets (I cant remember the names but if I am not mistaken it could be Speke old name?})

matombo - 12 March 2015

Ndiri kutengesawo Huku @ $5.00 each 2000 birds in stock

morefire - 12 March 2015

There is no doubt that this is Mnangagwa's hand-work . This is the the man who heads JOC. Nothing of this nature takes place without him sanctioning or being briefed. This is the same man who led to over turned 2008 vote where Mugabe lost dismally and led a scorch earth campaign to abduct and kill those they thought to lead the opposition grass route leadership. Ian Smith used to do the same. Do you remember the late Edison Sithole? He was abducted by Ian Smith's government and most probably his body was dissolved in nitric acid. Zanu-PF government did this many times over in 2008. There is no much difference between Ian Smith and Zanu-PF regimes. In fact we are in a worse situation at this point. The Rhodesia Front Government of Ian Smith was stopped by sons and daughters of this country. The Zanu-PF mafia leadership will not stop killing whenever they fill threatened. My country man we have to make a resolve to bring this to an end. Nobody will come to aid unless we stand up and put a stop to this! These people have shame at all.

Mbareboy - 12 March 2015

Can some cio who do not like what is happening in this country show some solidarity by giving information to the family or lawyers of Dzamara or independent news papers about his where about . This is the time to show ubuntu by exposing the evil one . CIO agents are members of society they are human son and daughters i know many cio agents who i have spoken to who do not like what is happening in the country so as such guys distance yourselves from this messy by giving off information as to the whereabout of Itai a s p . Remember you are employed by state to protect all citizens of this country so come on stand up and be professional not dogs of some political parties .

Diibulaanyika - 12 March 2015

ummmm pakaipa,but the nation is praying about it,he will be back very soon. Noone has the power on earth but God.

d.o.g - 12 March 2015

I shall not be a defence in a court of law, to say "it was mugabe who ordered us to kill". Mugabe will die, mother nature will strike. Thats the dangers of such activities of abductions. It might look like a secret but in reality its not. Worse still with the current zanu pf wars raging on. May GOD be with you Itai during these dark moments. To the kidnappers may their date of departure from this life be brought forward and sent to Hell.

X-MAN IV - 12 March 2015

Zimbabweans should call for the removal of Mugabe from being the chair of AU & SADCC. The top 5 in ZANU PF must be tried in the in ICC. Opposition MPs should call for the removal of Zimbabwe to Chair for the 2 institutions.

Sheffa - 13 March 2015

Chidyausiku yevo nyaya yekuongorora. Regowomesa tsinga nenyaya yaMutasa - achatasamugwa na Grace.

Chorosi - 13 March 2015

we are being led by shameless diabolical leaders, they squeeze us of every cent in taxes,after they fatten their pockets they turn on us kidnapping the very people that gives them survival,one day you will answer for all this, handiti vanhu tirikuona.

kenji - 13 March 2015

pakaipa munhu ngaadzorerwe kumba kwake nezita raJesu,mhuri yake ikushungurudziaka kani,Mwari pindirai baba ,pindirai mutsvene wangu,ahhh Dzamara

pakaipa - 13 March 2015

There is only one fact i know and am proud of that our dear loving God sees and searches everywhere....you the kidnapper you are a child of God...He loved you so much as much as He loved Dzamara....so whatever happens jus noe that whatever you do one way or the other will be done to you.....In politics today you are a Cde but be careful you will be an enemy soon

gashu - 13 March 2015

Actions have consequences.Fact of life.I once warned Itai.And he told me he didnt care.So I hope he is well.

Zimbonymous - 13 March 2015

The only solution is prayer. Regai Mwari vatonge zvavo. We are with u in prayer our dear veteran of DEMOCRACY. Remember kuti anotonga nedemo achatongwawo nedemo racho. Watch this space. Mwari vari kuona zvavo saka Kunyarara kwavo hazvireve kuti havasikuona uye Kunyarara kwavo hazvireve kuti vakapusa uye Kunyarara kwavo hazvireve kuti hakusi kutaura. Kana vakaona Jona mudziva remvura mudumbu rehove vakatadza nei kuona Dzamara. Tongai Zvenyu Mutsvene Wemasimba Ose. Taneta nevanhu vezanu avaaaaa. Amen.

dr nyaas - 13 March 2015

Time is beckoning as to who the true revolutionaries are.God liberate Zimbabwe.

Eddy - 13 March 2015

My fear is that now that this issue has attracted both national and international attention, whoever abducted Dzamara may just kill him to cover their tracks. If CIO releases him, they will be exposed for litigation from both Itai and many others who have disappeared. Dai mudzimai wacho atoenda kuState House kunochema kuna Mai Mugabe ndivo vangatomubatsira, woman to woman.

Samaita - 16 March 2015

Zimbabweans its time to show the rogue regime the exit door. Enough is enough. I am prepared to take to the streets

Bernard Machaka - 17 March 2015

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.