The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on Monday led Zimbabweans in marking the United Nations International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, which is marked every year, with victims of torture and non-governmental organisations calling on President Robert Mugabe to protect Zimbabweans and guarantee the safety of persons as required by UN statutes.
They noted that it was sad that Zimbabwe was marking the day while Itai Dzamara, a journalist turned activist who disappeared in March, is still missing.
Proportional Representation Member of Parliament, Concilia Chinanzvavana, said the commemorations were therapeutic and gave victims and their families an opportunity to speak out and encourage each other.
“We know that people are recognising that there are people that have suffered and are still suffering. These things are still happening. It is a beckoning light that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we have hope in it. This is a form of therapy as we speak to others and see that it is still happening to others and try to help our brethren. We have hope in the future,” said Chinanzvavana.
A war veteran and former Presidential Guard member, Chinoto Zulu, who was abducted and tortured in 2008 for allegedly supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said it is sad that Zimbabweans are now suffering at the hands of a black government regardless of selfless efforts by veterans and ordinary Zimbabweans in the 1970s liberation struggle to rid the country of colonial rule.
“The government is wrong because they are not recognising the rights of Zimbabweans. Even we ex-combatants are suffering and people are always missing because of this government of (Mr.) Mugabe,” said Zulu.
Sheffra Dzamara, wife to Itai Dzamara, told Studio 7 that her husband’s disappearance has made her vulnerable and she is being tortured mentally
“This is a difficult day for me because my husband is nowhere to be found. It is difficult for me and the kids. To the abductors please release my husband. He was the breadwinner and now I am surviving on donations and handouts. Please I beg you to release him,” she said.
Bishop Ancellimo Magaya with Divine Destiny prayed for good leadership in Zimbabwe. He urged all Zimbabweans to fear God.
“I feel pity for those that abduct, maim and kill on their own behalf and as well as on behalf of those that send them. It is dangerous to be without a conscience,” said Magaya.
Zimbabwe, for the past decade, has been in the news for the wrong reasons with the opposition claiming that President Mugabe’s ruling party allegedly abducted and tortured opponents, including human rights activists and independent journalists.