'Expedite search for Dzamara'

HARARE - Zimbabwe's influential Catholic bishops yesterday called on the police to expedite the search for journalist-cum-human rights activist Itai Dzamara.

Alexio Muchabaiwa, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) chairman, said three months after Dzamara was seized on March 9 by five armed men who shoved him into an unmarked truck and sped off, he has not been accounted for.

CCJP is a commission of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (Imbisa) mandated to promote justice and peace guided by gospel values or social teachings of the church.

“His disappearance could be seen in a broader context of sustaining fear as a strategy of restraining freedom of expression, participation, association and democracy against the values and aims of our liberation struggle,” Muchabaiwa said.

Around 50 percent of Zimbabwe’s population is Catholic and President Robert Mugabe was educated by Jesuits. Many of the country’s schools and hospitals are run by the Catholic Church.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights successfully filed a habeas corpus application at the High Court ordering senior security officials “to do all things necessary to determine his whereabouts”.

High Court Justice David Mangota also directed a team of police detectives to work closely with Dzamara’s legal team to search for him.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is appealing for information on the whereabouts of Itai Peace Kadiki Dzamara, aged 35 years,” said a police statement issued with contact details.

The United States and European Union have called on authorities to immediately investigate the disappearance.

The EU Delegation in Harare said in a statement yesterday that “the EU is increasingly concerned about the lack of progress made by the authorities in this case and recalls the legal obligation for the Zimbabwean authorities to provide regular and thorough progress reports on their search for Dzamara, as reminded by the High Court”.

In a by-monthly update to the High Court, the head of Law and Order in the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Crispen Makedenge, said they had searched high and low for Dzamara but could not find him.

“On April 8, 2015 Human Rights Lawyer, Gift Mtisi of Musendekwa, Mtisi legal practitioners visited the investigating officers in the company of an informant Stephen Sibanda,” Makedenge said in an April 13 update.

“His information was acted upon but could not yield any positive results as to the whereabouts of the victim, Itai Dzamara.

“All possible avenues are still being followed and the police’s doors are open for any eventualities.”

Describing the abduction as “barbaric”, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told Parliament two months ago he could not admit that Dzamara was arrested or is in their custody, raising grave concerns for his safety.

In a BBC HARDtalk interview with Stephen Sackur, Information minister Jonathan Moyo claimed there was nothing unusual about Dzamara’s disappearance, suggesting that even in the UK, people disappear without a trace.

Churches and civic society organisations have calendared June 14, marking 100 days since his disappearance, as the day when Zimbabweans will gather at the Zimbabwe Grounds for the “Bring Back Itai Dzamara” prayer rally.

Comments (6)

The Catholic Church should bury their heads in shame for bringing up and having amongst them such a cold bloodied callous murder in Robert Mugabe.

Nyimo - 10 June 2015

I am a catholic, but if unmarried bishops start crying for the whereabouts of a gay puppet, i will start revising my association with this church.

catholic - 10 June 2015

Remember Pius Ncube, the disgraced Bishop, they should stop mingling in affairs which they hardly comprehend these bishops. The vatican should watch this man, he must be gay.

ex catholic - 10 June 2015

hoooo mhosva yava yeCatholic Church. Kwanai vanhu veOpposition.

changara - 10 June 2015

Iwe NYIMO hauna moyo you just a nyimo vakuru vanoti kufakwe munhu zvinorwadza asi iwe wave kutaura zvako zvehu GAY. Zvauya papi mumba mako kana une mukadzi uri basa and ane basa .Think straight think posive think rwright.

b marambo - 10 June 2015

Thanks bishops, ndobasa ramwari iroro our lord father ned pple with heart iwe unopikisana nemaBishops go hang or you are part yevanhu vakatora Dzamara chinokutadzisa kuroorwa ndomweya yevanhu vamunouraya ivava

fireman - 10 June 2015

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