'Mugabe must account for Dzamara'

HARARE - Missing journalist-cum-political activist Itai Dzamara’s brother Patson has called on Zimbabweans to continue piling pressure on President Robert Mugabe’s government to stop the enforced disappearance of rights activists.

Speaking yesterday during commemorations for Dzamara’s abduction two years ago, Patson called on citizens to gather the courage to stand up against excesses by government.

“I realised that if I remain silent, I am actually aiding and abetting the disrespect of the rule of law.

“So for a better Zimbabwe, we, as a family, shall continue to demand government to account for Itai’s disappearance and this is going to be our case study as we fight to ensure that government guarantees the safety of citizens,” Dzamara said.

“We have always stated that Itai’s disappearance is the work of (President) Mugabe. We are heading towards a very critical season with elections coming. Let us embolden our voice and speak even louder for the rights of the people as encapsulated in the country’s Constitution”.

The US Embassy expressed concern about the activist’s whereabouts and wellbeing.

“The lack of progress in this case raises doubts about the intention of the authorities responsible for the investigation,” it said.

“We again call on Zimbabwean authorities to mobilise the full extent of their resources to investigate the circumstances surrounding Dzamara’s abduction, and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

The Australian embassy on the other hand said it remains “deeply concerned about the abduction and disappointed by the lack of progress in the investigation of this matter, particularly in light of a court order requiring action from relevant authorities.”

After his broad-daylight kidnapping, Dzamara’s wife, Sheffra, who was at the commemorations yesterday, approached the High Court in a bid to force the police and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to search for her husband.

Judge David Mangota ordered the police and CIO “to do all things necessary to determine his whereabouts”, including appealing for information in the State media.

Government’s investigation of Dzamara’s disappearance has been a pattern of delay, denial, and cover-up.

The Occupy Africa Unity Square activist disappeared on the morning of March 9, 2015.

He was abducted by five unidentified men while at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb.

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