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Zimbabwe's Tajamuka Campaign Stages Protest At Unicef Offices

Members of Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign demonstrating outside the Unicef offices in Harare. (Photo: Patricia Mudadigwa)

Members of Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign demonstrating outside the Unicef offices in Harare. (Photo: Patricia Mudadigwa)

Several members of the organization danced and sang outside Unicef offices in Harare denouncing the organization for attacking the Dzamara family for using children at Africa Unity Square last week.

Unicef warned the family and activists saying children are protected by various international and local statutes from participating in public protests. It quoted Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which relates to freedom of association.

Article 15 stipulates in part that children have the right to meet together and to join groups and organizations. This section is silent on the participation of children in public protests. However, some provisions of Section 81 of the Zimbabwe Constitution state that every child has the right not to be recruited into a militia force or take part in armed conflict or hostilities.

It further states that every child has the right not to be compelled to take part in any political activity.

But Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign stressed during their protest today that Unicef should have expressed these sentiments every time President Robert Mugabe used children in his rallies.

Speaking outside Unicef offices, Tajamuka-Sesijikile spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi, accused the U.N agency of seeking to pacify the sitting government at the expense of the children it claimed to be representing.

“As I speak Linda Musarira is in illegal political detention and Unicef has never said anything about that. Itai Dzamara has been missing Unicef has never said anything about that. We know that Elizabeth Mupfumira is a daughter to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in (Mr.) Mugabe's government and we know that you are trying to pacify Mugabe regime.

Her mother, Priscillah Mupfumira has already indicated that she has nothing to do with the Unicef statement.

“We say this is not right. We do not expect the international community to behave in that way. We do not expect employees of Unicef to use their position in the organisation to push political and partisan agendas.”

Silvanos Mudzova, a member of the political campaign group, told Studio 7 that they want a retraction of the Unicef statement.

“We expect them to retract the statement first of all and issue an apology to Itai Dzamara's family directly to say that Itai's children were only looking for their father and were not being political.”

Fortune Nyoni, another activist, concurred adding that Itai Dzamara's children were at the demonstration seeking answers from the Zanu PF government on the whereabouts of their father.

“We are here to demand from Unicef why they have issued a statement trying to stop Itai Dzamara’s children who were seeking to know from the regime where their father is.”

Mkwananzi and three other members of Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign met with Unicef representatives.

He claimed that Unicef has agreed to have a relook at the statement and address the concerns of the campaign group.

“She agreed that within a week she is going to consult within the United Nations and make a review of the statement they have made and make a public statement clarifying the position of Unicef.”

Victor Chinyama, chief of communications, confirmed that they held a meeting with Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign but declined to disclose what was discussed.