A Zanu-PF official has reportedly claimed that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was responsible for Itai Dzamara’s disappearance,adding that the activist was somewhere “enjoying life”.
Dzamara, a father of two, was abducted by five men who stormed a barbershop in Glenview, Harare, while he was having a haircut on March 9.
The former journalist had been staging protests in Harare’s Africa Unity Square calling on long-time leader President Robert Mugabe to step down.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, Zanu-PF’s Masvingo provincial chairperson, Paradzai Chakona told journalists at the weekend that the MDC was holding Dzamara in a bid to drum up financial support from the West.
Chakona said the fact that Dzamara’s disappearance took place at the same time that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai travelled to the United States could not be dismissed as mere coincidence.
Tsvangirai was in the US in March on a diplomatic offensive to shed light on the deteriorating political and socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe.
The MDC, however believes and maintains that Mugabe’s government is behind Dzamara’s abduction.
Speaking to News24 on Tuesday, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu dismissed Chakona’s remarks as a “joke”.
“For Chakona to insinuate that the MDC is hiding Dzamara, it is a joke in extreme bad taste. Chakona is an honourable MP and we don’t expect him to utter such irresponsible, insensitive and cruel comments about somebody who was abducted by state security agents,” Gutu said.
“Today, it’s exactly 63 days from the day that he [Dzamara] was abducted. It’s actually a sad moment for all peace loving Zimbabweans and the world.”
Gutu said Chakona should put himself in the shoes of Dzamara’s family members and “try to imagine how they are feeling right now. He must imagine the amount of agony and torture they are going through. I do not expect such insensitive comments from him”.
Gutu said the MDC was not holding Dzamara because “it’s a party that does not abduct people”.
Gutu said allegations that his party wanted to gain financial support from Dazamara’s abduction could only be offered by an “infantile mind”.
“The allegations are absolute nonsense. It is pure hogwash,” said Gutu.
A rights group, Human Rights Watch, said last week that Zimbabwean authorities appeared to be doing nothing to find the activist.