Police ordered to search for activist

HARARE - In an important ruling, High Court judge David Mangota has ordered the police to search for abducted pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara, including advertising on national television and in major newspapers the fact that he is missing.

Mangota gave the order yesterday, including asking the police to give a report every Friday on the progress of their search and investigations, following an urgent application by Dzamara’s grief-stricken wife Sheffra.

The under-fire police promptly moved to appeal for information from the public on the whereabouts of the journalist-turned Police ordered to search for activist freedom fighter.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is appealing for information on the whereabouts of Itai Peace Kadiki Dzamara aged 35 years, National Registration Number 48-084830 T 48 who left his house proceeding to Trust Deketeke Barber Shop at house number 10701 Glen View 7, Harare for a haircut.

“Whilst he was being shaved it is alleged that three unknown male black adults entered the barber shop and forcibly dragged him into a white Nissan Hardbody double cab vehicle, whose registration numbers were only captured as ABB 2, with the last three digits not visible.

“The registration plate was partly folded. In the vehicle were two other unknown black male adults. The accused persons drove away with Itai Peace Kadiki Dzamara and disappeared from the scene.

“Anyone with information, please contact Officer Commanding Police (Law and Order Division), Assistant Commissioner Makedenge on (04) 251505 or the Officer in Charge CID Law and Order Harare, Detective Chief Inspector Runganga on (04) 753411 or any nearest Police Station,” national police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said in a statement.

In her court application, Sheffra cited Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and the Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation, Happyton Bonyongwe, as respondents.

Sheffra, who was represented by prominent human rights lawyers Charles Kwaramba and Alec Muchadehama, told the court that her husband had been abducted on Monday morning by five men as he left the barbershop in Glen View.

“It is reported that five men who were inside disembarked from the car, three of them went around, while two of them entered the barbershop.

“Those who had entered the barbershop said they were looking for a certain man, and when they saw my husband, they immediately told him to get up and go with them as he was wanted in connection with stock theft,” she said in her affidavit.

She added that Dzamara had been handcuffed and dragged into the car, before the men drove off, and since then he had not been seen in public and his phone was unreachable.

Sheffra said she believed her husband had been abducted by State agents, going on to plead for the release of her husband.

“This is a clear case of kidnapping. I have my suspects though. I believe my husband has been taken by State security agents,” she said.

She gave a narration of how her husband had recently been holding a one-man demonstration in Harare, calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down.

“His major complaint being that His Excellency has not delivered on the election promise to deliver two million jobs, (and) instead unemployment has continued to soar.

“In other words, he had taken a position to speak against the worrisome socio-economic and political challenges bedevilling the country and he is blaming His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe for that,” she said.

She added that her husband had been holding the peaceful demonstrations on a daily basis at Africa Unit Square since October last year.

Sheffra also observed that the demonstrations, dubbed “Occupy Africa Unity Square campaign” had angered authorities.

“On several occasions he has been harassed and severely assaulted by the police with a clear intention of forcing him to abandon his cause.

I have no doubt at all in my mind that his political activism is the source of his present predicament.

“He had also advised me that in recent days he was being followed by people that he believed to be State agents. Not only that, he said some of them had actually warned him to stop his campaign or he would face the consequences,” she said.

As a result, she said, she was gripped with extreme fear for her husband’s life.

“I genuinely believe that those who have kidnapped him are State agents. There is a real possibility that they have killed him or they intend to do so.

“I am sure since his kidnapping, my husband is being subjected to all manner of torture and forms of inhuman and degrading treatment.

“I want to believe that they are depriving him of food, they are beating him, they are interrogating him endlessly and perhaps he is being kept in solitary confinement,” Sheffra said.

She said her husband’s “arrest” was unlawful.

“It could not have been a lawful arrest which was done so clandestinely. If my husband had been arrested on some allegations, he would obviously have been informed of the charges against him and he would have been taken to a known police station,” she said.

On their part, the respondents represented by Fortunate Chimbaru opposed the application, claiming that the State was not aware of Dzamara’s whereabouts since he was not in detention.

“My instructions are that the respondents do not know the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara and also deny any involvement in his disappearance,” Chimbaru said.

She also claimed that the police did not have money to advertise on national television and newspapers in their quest to ascertain Dzamara’s whereabouts.

However, Mangota said it was the duty of the State to protect property and people, adding that the State ceased to be the State if it could not assist in such circumstances.

In the meantime, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC says Mugabe is afraid of the party and that is why police have besieged its Harare headquarters, Harvest House.

For a third day running yesterday, heavily armed anti-riot police continued to cordon off the MDC offices, demanding that the opposition party releases a police helmet and baton that were lost when some youths clashed with police on Wednesday outside Parliament.

The cordoning off of Harvest House forced Tsvangirai to cut short his three-day visit to Bulawayo, in an attempt to solve the crisis.

Douglas Mwonzora, MDC secretary general, said the anti-riot police had left the party’s headquarters late yesterday afternoon.

“They have just left. They gathered that I was filing papers for a peace order and they left in a huff. But what is happening is barbaric and uncalled for. It is also clear testimony that the MDC is the only party in Zimbabwe because instead of cordoning off the offices of small parties the police came to us,” Mwonzora said.

Obert Gutu, MDC spokesperson, said police should stop wasting resources on his party and search for the kidnapped Dzamara.

“It’s strange and ridiculous that anti-riot police have been stationed here because they claim we have their baton stick at Harvest House.

This is clear misallocation of resources by the State. Instead of looking for Dzamara they want to harass us,” he said.

Comments (2)

KUDA KUEDZA KUGEZA MAOKOKA UKU....ko number dzemota dzakaonekwa tangirai ipapo to investigate ndedzani? is the car reg. No. existing in your books?

Nyemba - 16 March 2015

with those reg #'s there are only 99 cars to look for and then not all will be Nissan Hardbodys we might be down to 5 in two mins. Just tell us the cars registered as those numbers. Please rush to CVR before they fudge those records...

guest - 17 March 2015

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