Harare, March 10, 2015 – Human rights lawyers on Tuesday criticised President Robert Mugabe’s administration after Zimbabwean authorities abducted Itai Dzamara, a prominent pro-democracy activist for yet unknown reasons.
Dzamara, a freelance journalist and human rights activist, has since last year been leading anti-government protests under a peaceful civil disobedience programme dubbed Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) Movement. Dzamara together with his resilient group of protestors have been staging lunch time protests demanding key economic and political reforms in the troubled southern African country.
The human rights activist went missing on Monday morning after he was abducted 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.
Upon abducting Dzamara, the unidentified men reportedly accused him of having stolen a beast before bundling him into the vehicle.
Since his disappearance on Monday, his mobile phone has been switched off and he has not had any contact with his wife, family and friends.
The country’s leading legal defence group, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Tuesday held Zimbabwean authorities accountable for the disappearance of Dzamara.
“Dzamara is being held incommunicado from his family and lawyers. His detention is illegal and violates fundamental rights protected under the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” ZLHR said in a statement released Tuesday.
ZLHR, which in 2008 coordinated a vigorous campaign that led to the release of human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko, who had been abducted by state security agents for allegedly plotting to unseat Mugabe’s administration said its lawyers Charles Kwaramba and Kennedy Masiye were also filing an urgent habeas corpus application to compel “whoever is holding Dzamara to bring him before the court so as to determine if he should really be in detention.”
The police according to ZLHR have now begun investigations into the kidnapping case of Dzamara under RRB number 2391750 and have conducted an inspection of the scene of the incident as part of their investigation and also recorded a statement from Dzamara’s barber.
Last Saturday Dzamara who has previously worked for The Standard, The Zimbabwe Independent and The News Leader newspapers addressed MDC-T supporters at a political rally held in Harare’s volatile suburb of Highfield together with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai where he vowed to continue rolling outs protests against Mugabe for authoring the country’s economic and political crisis