Harare, March 30, 2015 – The Canadian government has hit out at Zimbabwean authorities for their silence over the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara, the missing pro-democracy activist and freelance journalist.
Dzamara, an iconic figure in Zimbabwe’s pro-democracy movement went missing early this month after he was abducted by some unidentified men from a barber shop in Harare’s Glenview high density suburb.
Since his disappearance, he has not had any contact with his wife, relatives and family. His wife, Sheffra has obtained a court order where state security agents were ordered to mount a search for him and to report progress to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the country’s leading legal defence group.
But on Monday, Canada said it was disappointment that the authorities have not done much in probing Dzamara’s whereabouts and challenged the government to escalate its search for the missing prominent human rights activist.
“Canada remains deeply concerned by the forced disappearance of Zimbabwean human rights activist Itai Dzamara on 9 March 2015, and the fact that no light has been shed on his fate or whereabouts to date. We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to live up to its commitment and increase its efforts to investigate the disappearance and bring those responsible to justice,” reads part of a statement issued Monday by the Canadian embassy in Harare.
The Canadian government expressed sympathy to Dzamara’s family which it said continues to suffer the “interminable wait to hear the fate of their loved one.”
Canada once again urged President Robert Mugabe’s administration to respect and promote democratic principles and human rights and free expression even if this entails staging demonstrations to hold the government accountable without fear of retribution.
Canada becomes the second country in recent weeks to express its frustration with the lethargic manner in which Zimbabwean authorities have handled the case of the missing Dzamara.
The United States recently urged Zimbabwean authorities to mobilise their full resources to locate Dzamara and investigate the circumstances surrounding his disappearance as well as to ensure the protection of his human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Prior to the abduction, Dzamara together with his Occupy Africa Unity Square protestors had since last year been staging anti-government protests calling for President Mugabe to step down from power for mismanaging the once prosperous southern African country