Harare, June 18, 2015 – The Canadian government has faulted President Robert Mugabe’s administration for doing too little in the probe to find a missing prominent pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara.
Dzamara, a father of two children, has been missing since 9 March when he was abducted by suspected state security agents from his Harare residence and has not been accounted for despite the police and other state security agents having committed to probe his whereabouts.
With family and friends increasingly apprehensive after 100 days having passed without establishing his whereabouts, the Canadian government this week criticised the government for its lackluster attitude in accounting for the missing pro-democracy campaigner.
“Canada remains deeply concerned for his health and safety; troubled that to date there has
been no information forthcoming as to his condition or whereabouts; and disappointed that the
Government of Zimbabwe has not done more to communicate its efforts to find Itai and bring to
justice those responsible,” reads part of a statement issued Wednesday by the Canadian embassy in Harare.
Canada challenged the government to intensify its probe into the circumstances regarding the forced disappearance of the freelance journalist and human rights activist and to respect its citizens’ rights.
“We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to redouble its efforts in determining the fate and whereabouts of Itai Dzamara and to provide regular reports to the public – and more importantly to his family – about the progress of its investigation. While Canada recognizes Zimbabwe’s efforts to re-engage with the international community, this engagement must be accompanied by tangible demonstration by the government that it is seeking to protect the human rights of its citizens that are guaranteed in Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution,” the Canadians said.
It took the intervention of lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to compel the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to provide some updates on their efforts to locate Dzamara. However, the country’s leading legal defence group has protested that the updates are substandard as the ZRP has not detailed the people whom they have interviewed to date and the places that they have visited and checked in the search for Dzamara.
Besides Canada, the EU, US and Australian governments together with several local and international human rights advocates have spoken out against the abduction of Dzamara and demanded action from the government to account for the missing human rights campaigner.
Dzamara, a 35 year-old iconic figure in Zimbabwe’s pro-democracy movement was abducted in March by some unidentified men who were travelling in a white twin cab vehicle with a blurred registration number plate from a barber shop, where he was having a haircut in Harare’s high density suburb of Glenview. He has remained missing since then.