Pressure groups, diplomats urge release of Dzamara

HARARE - Zimbabwe's civil society organisations, Western embassies, and the country’s citizens yesterday called for the unconditional release of journalist-cum-political activist Itai Dzamara kidnapped in Harare on Monday, with government saying it has not received any demands from his abductors.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told Parliament yesterday that the abduction was “barbaric”.

This was after opposition legislators had expressed concern over the recurrence of cases of abductions and incommunicado detentions by State security agencies.

“We are a democratic society and we believe citizens have a right to express themselves in a manner they want, peacefully,” Mnangagwa said.

“Anybody in the country who commits crime in the country must be accountable and I can assure the House and nation that we are doing everything to make sure that those who committed this barbaric act are brought to book.”

The US Embassy said in a statement it noted with grave concern the reports of the forced disappearance of the civil society activist. 

“We support Mr Dzamara’s right to freedom of expression and to demonstrate peacefully,” said Karen Kelley, US Embassy public affairs officer.

“We urge the relevant authorities to demonstrate their professionalism by fully investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr Dzamara’s abduction.  If he is being held in State custody, it is vital that his fundamental human rights and freedoms as guaranteed by Zimbabwe’s Constitution be honoured.”

The European Union delegation also issued a statement endorsed by the embassies of Norway and Switzerland.

“The EU counts on the government of Zimbabwe to take all necessary measures to ascertain Mr Dzamara’s whereabouts, safeguard his wellbeing and accord him the full protection of the law, within its overall responsibilities of ensuring the safety of all its citizens.

French Ambassador Laurent Delahousse said it was important that the government does everything in its power to find Dzamara or the abductors.

“Together with my colleagues we would like to call the government of Zimbabwe to take all necessary measures to ascertain Mr Dzamara’s whereabouts and to ensure the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice,” Delahouse said at a press conference in Harare.

The Australian Embassy said it joins civil society organisations, other embassies, and Zimbabwean citizens in expressing deep concern at the abduction of the human rights activist and leader of Occupy Africa Unity Square movement on March 9.

“The Australian Embassy calls on the government of Zimbabwe to do all it can to establish the whereabouts of Mr Dzamara, hold those responsible accountable and ensure the respect of fundamental rights protected under the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Joel McGregor, Chargé d’Affaires at the Australian Embassy.

“We urge Zimbabwe, as chair of the African Union and Southern African Development Community (Sadc), to set the highest standards in protecting the rights of its citizens.”

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition — a conglomeration of over 350 civil society groups — appealed to Dzamara’s abductors “to immediately release Itai whose political and protest activities are protected by our Constitution.”

Pressure group Say The Obvious Problem (Stop) said it was “deeply concerned like so many others in our society about the alleged abduction of Itai Dzamara”.

“This barbaric, deplorable act of cowardice has no place in a democratic society,” Stop said in a statement.

“We demand that his abductors treat him humanely and we call for his unconditional, safe and immediate release. At the same time, we challenge the law enforcement agents to find him, for no sane government can watch and see its citizens being abused.”

Comments (17)

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morkal - 12 March 2015

Itai arimumukanwa maNgwena. Tapoera vanhuwe!

Dzinashe - 12 March 2015

How about our own African diplomats what are they saying. Obviusly they will not loose sleep because one person has abducted. They would rather wait and act if at all when the whole nation is abducted. Shame

goodlife - 12 March 2015

Emmerson Mnagangwa whom do you want to fool here, we are not as stupid or idiotic like zanu pf supports who refuse to accept reality. If you say that you dont know wher Itai is then you are the worst idiotic VP ever to emerge on this planet, Its wise to keep quite than wanting to provoke people. Mnangagwa urimunhu mukuru iwe so behave like one, stop this high school bulling. Respect yourself first idiot VP

Gushaaz - 12 March 2015

Hayibo do we have a representative of any African nation here in Zimbabwe? Ok this is not a human rights issue because it does not put money to your personal accounts......GOD!!!

UNCLE REAL - 12 March 2015

One wonders how can a normal person kidnap some one for saying a 91yr old election thief .power abuser who is evil , very sick and confused must step down .Mugabe is very very very evil . Why can not Grace stand by this woman whose husband has been kidnapped and that makes it clear that this thing was planned and Grace knows about it as she is the one running the country .

Diibulaanyika - 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 RG Mugabe had lost dismally. He 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. He was never found ever again. 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 in time. 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 our aid unless we stand up and put a stop to this!

Mbareboy - 12 March 2015

There are visible cracks within a beleaguered Zanu pf party that can no longer be reconciled to realities of life except if we are in denial. They disown acts of atrocities they sanction thinking its playing smart. There being drunk with power fail their judgement of the truth on the ground. We may be abused and corrupted by Zanu, but we are not all gullible. If it were not because of the evil and corrupt CABAL Zanu would have long gone. The undeniable truth is Zanu atrocities are beyond count and pardon irredeemable. It is unhealthy to account the good cause of the liberation struggle to such irresponsible behavior that does not respect life and people.

Andrew Manyevere - 12 March 2015

the EU just sentenced ITAI to death he can never be released if at all it is true cio has him , it wil just bring more damage to their relations with EU

bliss - 13 March 2015

who ever is holding Itai, and if you can read this read know that your time is coming, the walls, trees have ears and eyes and are watching you and your demise too is at your doorstep, today its Itai but tomorrow its you, the tears of Itai's family and children will never fall on deaf ears, God is hearing their cries and ours as well, and remember he is a God of Love and Mercy , and a such in his mighty name, you will release Itai because he is a God who can command and be listened to, and surely he will command you to release Itai and by all reason you will obey.

sherpard - 13 March 2015

i think this abduction was miscalculated . i dont think these guys foresaw the attention it was going to command ..... i am sure the Obama administration is busy preparing a fresh list of sanctions against our poor governed country . they are now caught between a rock and a hard surface . considering to release him and soil their image because he will say it out or kill him and bury him for good or even dumb his body somewhere and make it appear like it wasnt one of their operations

Cde Svinurai - 13 March 2015

i think he is dead. by now usually zanupf would have released him by now and taken hime to court. i think he is dead and zanupf dont know what to do at all.

petros - 13 March 2015

More sunctions please EU...

BVARU - 13 March 2015

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