By Professor Matodzi
Harare, September 17, 2015 – The family of Zimbabwe’s missing human rights activist Itai Dzamara has revealed the agony that it is enduring owing to the lengthy forced disappearance and failure to locate the prominent pro-democracy campaigner.
The Dzamara family made the disclosure in an emotional letter released Thursday and written to the missing human rights activist by Patson, Itai’s young brother.
Patson narrated the difficulties that the family particularly Sheffra, Itai’s wife and his two children are currently encountering and grappling with owing to the disappearance and failure to locate their father.
“Life has not been the same since 9 March, 2015. Our lives have changed drastically because you are not with us. We all miss you so much, especially your wife Sheffra and your kids, Nokutenda and Nenyasha. Your continued forced absence is eating up mom and dad although they have shown great strength and courage during this trying period. Your son Nokutenda is now at a new school but your absence has negatively affected his performance at school. He incessantly asks his mother when you are going to return. Nenyasha seems to have an idea of what happened to you but she certainly has not grasped the gravity of the issue as yet. Sheffra has shown a great deal of maturity and forbearance in your absence. She has ably stood in your gap for the kids despite the ominous realities hovering over her. It’s certainly not easy for her although we are all trying our best to make sure that everything is kept under control,” reads part of the letter seen by Radio VOP.
Dzamara, an iconic figure in Zimbabwe’s pro-democracy movement went missing in March after he was abducted by some unidentified men from a barber shop in Harare’s Glenview high density suburb. His family hasn’t heard from him since.
The Dzamara family described their missing son as a hero.
“…Even as tears engulf me tears right now, I want to tell you that I am proud of you. You took an unusual but necessary stand. Caring less for your comfort and security, you said what had to be said. You confronted what had to be confronted. You are a true hero,” Patson said.
Prior to his abduction and enforced disappearance, Itai together with his Occupy Africa Unity Square movement protestors had since last year been staging anti-government protests calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down from power for mismanaging the once prosperous southern African country.
Patson paid tribute to Itai’s friends for standing by the family during trying times.
“Your Occupy Africa Unity Square team is in constant touch with us although they are not able to do much in your absence…..Some of your friends and comrades have stood with us throughout,” said Patson, who called upon his brother’s spirit to cause “restlessness” to his tormentors.
He vowed that the Dzamara family will not tire out in exploiting all avenues available to determine the whereabouts of their family member.
“Itai, we have tried all we can and we shall leave no stone unturned in order to get to the bottom of this, at any cost. We have vociferously knocked on several doors seeking the truth because we need closure. I even petitioned President Mugabe over your continued missing two weeks ago. I know that if it was you, much more would have been done but I am trying mukoma,” said Patson.
Prior to the abduction, Dzamara together with his Occupy Africa Unity Square movement protestors had since last year been staging anti-government protests calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down from power for mismanaging the once prosperous southern African country.
Apart from Itai, several human rights defenders among them Paul Chizuze and Patrick Nabanyana who went missing in 2000 and 2012 respectively have not been accounted for.
Human rights groups blame President Mugabe’s government for fueling impunity by not taking legal action or prosecuting known state security agents who were implicated in the abduction and forced disappearance of more than a dozen human rights and political activists including human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko and Nigel Mutemagawu, who was abducted from his parents’ home aged two years.