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Zimbabwe Court Grants Dzamara Family Permission to Stage Peaceful Protest

  • Irwin  Chifera

Itai Dzamara's wife, Sheffra, seen here with her brother-in-law Patson Dzamara and close associates.

Itai Dzamara's wife, Sheffra, seen here with her brother-in-law Patson Dzamara and close associates.

The High Court has granted an order authorizing the family of missing pro-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara, to hold a march Wednesday in commemoration of one year after the leader of Occupy Africa Unity Square was abducted by unknown assailants about a year ago in Harare.

The family approached the High Court after the police barred the planned march arguing that it would infringe on other people’s rights.

Family lawyer, Clement Phiri told Studio 7 that the court granted the order saying it was the family’s constitutional rights to demonstrate peacefully.

“He cited that in terms of the constitution Section 59, there was an unfettered right that was given to the citizens of Zimbabwe to petition and demonstrate and the only qualification there was that the demonstration should be peaceful, so basically that what he insinuated in his judgment.”

Family representative, Patson Dzamara, told journalists the commemorations are meant to send a message to the government that forced disappearances should not persist in Zimbabwe.

Dzamara said Zimbabweans, especially young people, must take a stand and make sure that disappearances stop as anyone can become a victim.

“It’s time for all youths to rise above partisan politics and indifference because our future is certainly at stake.”

He said people are expected to gather at African Unity Square and then march peacefully along Jason Moyo to Rotten Row, Samora Machel, First Street, Nelson Mandela Avenue and back to Africa Unity Square for prayers.

Later in the day, a documentary and a song to honor the missing activist compiled by Patson himself was unveiled at the Anglican Cathedral.

Patson Dzamara said life without his brother has been very difficult and the family is now struggling to cope but remained hopeful that he would return one day.

“Our emotions constantly oscillated between hope and despondency. Itai is still missing and that is heart rending.”

Itai’s wife, Sheffra, said their two kids were equally worried and always asking about their father.

Dirk Frey, who worked with Itai Dzamara in the Occupy Africa Unity Square project said though work without the political activist had been very difficult, the group had re-strategised and was carrying on with his work.

Itayi Dzamara Trust chairperson, Bishop Ancelimo Magaya said it was disappointing that that the government had failed to safeguard the life of Zimbabweans.

He said developments in the ruling Zanu PF indicate that no one is safe as some of the people who have been part of the state alleged atrocities have been isolated.

“It is now clear that no one in this country, no matter what office they occupy is safe, nobody is safe.”

Although the court secured a High Court order compelling the police and other security services to update the family on their investigations, Patson Dzamara and the family lawyer, Kennedy Masiye, said police had not provided any lead so far.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could not be reached for comment.

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