Children take front-line in Dzamara demo

HARARE - In an unprecedented move, missing activist Itai Dzamara’s family — together with political parties and civic society, including Jestina Mukoko — yesterday protested and confronted police, with children on the front-line.

During the protest, in which they demanded the return of Dzamara dead or alive, the children walked up to the armed police and offered them flowers and cakes before calling on them to remove their riot gear and join the fight against government’s misrule.

However, the police turned their backs and retreated into their trucks.

Itai’s brother, Patson, and National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe chairperson Sten Zvorwadza also participated in the demonstration, which took place at Africa Unity Square, Harare.

Dzamara — popular for his Occupy Africa Unity Square anti-President Robert Mugabe protests — has been missing for 17 months after he was abducted while getting a haircut at a barbershop in Glen View in March last year.

Despite police tasking an investigation team, there have been no leads on his whereabouts.


SHIFTING GROUND...Children confront and offer riot police flowers during protests over abducted Itai Dzamara's unexplained disappereance, 17 months on. Pic: Annie Mpalume

During the protests, Patson bellowed from a loud-hailer, urging the police to “accept the peace offer, remove their garb and confront the real enemy — Mugabe”.

Curiously, the riot police, who have often beaten up protestors, neither attacked the children nor the adult protestors.

And, they had no police clearance, which is always required to hold a demonstration, even a peaceful one.

“Police, we have come to show you love. We love you, we are all Zimbabweans,” Zvorwadza said.

“Join us commemorate the life of Itai Dzamara. Look, these are your children, we don’t want to fight you,” he said.

“Remove your uniforms and join the masses... support the masses who are under oppression,” Zvorwadza told the police.

“Join us in a bigger demonstration against Mugabe who has seen Dzamara being abducted and has done nothing, who has seen thousands being massacred and done nothing,” Zvorwadza added.

Human rights defender and former abductee Mukoko also said: “I walked the same road, but I was found. I am heartbroken for these children who are waking up without a father”.

“If he is dead, I can tell you he died a painful death. But even in death, we deserve dignity. Itai’s family needs closure,” she said.

Patson claimed he had fresh information on the whereabouts of his brother which he would reveal in due course.

“We know there was a row when we released Itai’s pictures but I can tell you there will be more information,” he said.

Former Zanu PF youth leader Acie Lumumba branded Zanu PF a terrorist organisation.

“We all don’t know where Itai is but what we all know is that what happened to Itai should not happen to any other Zimbabwean,” he said.

“We now know who we will not vote for . . . Zanu PF is a terrorist organisation. I know that, I came from there.”

Comments (11)

sinking to very low depths by using children as human shields

truth - 11 August 2016

@ Truth or falsehoods, its not sinking , its demonstration against someone , a family member, a father lost. Its everyone's right to demonstrate as enshrined in our supreme law. There is nothing wrong in demonstrating. Why are you fazed? Did they demonstrate against you?

ISHE NEHOREKA - 11 August 2016

ko tomuka riniko vana vezimbabwe thanks ishe for telling that idiot the truth pple lyk him ndovarikutidzosera kumashure

mdraone1 - 11 August 2016

@truth urimhata inetsete. So its okay these kids sit and forget zanu pf took away their father? These monsters if they have a heart they need ask themselves if they did the right thing by make one citizen, a brother, a father to such young kids dissapear from the face of the earth without any trace. Conscience dzavo ngadzivatongese as they look at the small now fatherless kids who will grow up not knowing where they dad went to.

nyimo - 11 August 2016

This truth guy is the most evil&shameful human being.Daily news please stop posting this guy's stupid comments.Truth I just want to know were u come from&who is yr parents. U are such an idiot animal,,get lost please

Matsotsi - 12 August 2016

I think this idiot truth is chamhanza Jonathan Moyo.The way he talks,, if not,maybe he is Chinotimba's son.But uchamama chete.

Matsotsi - 12 August 2016

Children are the worst affected citizens in any dictatorship country. They are not being used as humanshield, but like school children who at times miss their schooling when Mugabe attend a particular school, it is time they also join the struggle. Its time they be part of the peaceful demonstration. Police of Zimbabwe need to be told that demonstration is not always about violence, its a show off having exhausted all other means of negotiations have yielded to naught.

amina - 12 August 2016

truth will only feel the truth if it happens to his relative that is if he has any feelings at all

Tichaona - 12 August 2016

@ truth u dont have a heart at all man

cvx - 12 August 2016

@ truth u dont have a heart at all man

cvx - 12 August 2016

To the organisers of this peaceful yet forceful demonstration-Congratulations!! It is time to unite as one Zimbabwe-as one people. The police have no choice but to see the unity of every Zimbabwean- young and old, rich and poor. Flowers are not stones but they can send an even stronger message with out breaking the glass. Now I can proudly call myself a Zimbabwean having seen the way the nation is peacefully changing the course of history. We will all look back on this time and be forever proud of our conduct. The tyranny of zanupf will fall because of our hearts and flowers.

martin - 12 August 2016

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