By Dylan Murambgi
Harare, August 16, 2016 – THE United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said on Monday it stood by its statement over the weekend criticising the use of children at a protest meeting held by the Dzamara family and other activists at the Africa Unity Square.
UNICEF Chief of Communications in Zimbabwe, Victor Chinyama, told VOP in a telephone interview that they were not moved by the attack on the organisation by activists, who included the #Tajamuka pressure group, which accused them of hypocrisy.
“I cannot comment on a statement which I have not seen, but what I can say is that as UNICEF, we stand by the statement that we issued on Saturday,” he said.
On Saturday, UNICEF issued a statement denouncing the Dzamara family for using children as part of their protest to mark 17 months after the enforced disappearance of pro-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara.
“President Mugabe, his wife and their party Zanu PF have often disrupted classes to bus children to augment depleted numbers at their rallies,” said the group.
“UNICEF has never said a word. During the 6th of July shutdown the Zimbabwe Republic Police teargased and killed a child in Makokoba high density area in Bulawayo and there was no word from UNICEF.”
The group said it was disturbing that UNICEF had failed to speak out against various incidents of child abuse by the government but was quick to criticise the Dzamara family who were only commemorating their loved one.
“The commemorations of Itai Dzamara’s 17 months since his disappearance was not a demonstration and the police, not the children, should never have come there,” they said.
The group vowed that Itai Dzamara’s children would participate in any future events to commemorate the disappearance of their father.