Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) founding president Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday dismissed state media claims that his party is responsible for the disappearance of former journalist and pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara, who was allegedly abducted by unknown assailants a fortnight ago in Harare’s Glen View suburb.
Mr. Tsvangirai told reporters moments after meeting Dzamara’s wife and his mother that a report published in the Saturday edition of the state-controlled Herald newspaper claiming that the MDC leader and his party were responsible for Dzamara’s abduction was false and malicious.
The former prime minister said he hoped that Dzamara’s abductors will return him alive so that he would reunite with his family.
Mr. Tsvangirai also went to the barbershop were Dzamara was last seen on the 9th of March. The barber, who refused to be named told Mr. Tsvangirai that the pro-democracy activist was bundled into an Isuzu truck while his abductors claimed that they were police officers who were arresting him in connection with a crime that had to do with stocktheft.
The barber claimed that the way Dzamara was forced into the vehicle while his hands were handcuffed was very suspicious prompting him to notify the activist’s family.
Given this account of the last known person to see Dzamara before his disappearance, Mr. Tsvangirai said it was now clear that Dzamara was in the hands of the state.
The alleged abduction of Dzamara was also criticized by local non-governmental organizations and some foreign governments, including the United States and the European Union all calling on Harare to help locate the activist.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told parliament when quizzed by lawmakers over the issue that Dzamara’s abductors would be brought to book if apprehended.
Dzamara’s abduction is similar to that of human rights activist Jestina Mukoko in 2008. Mukoko was held incommunicado for several weeks after being bundled into a car at her home in Norton by state agents.
Some MDC-T activists like Tonderai Ndira and Beta Chokururama were allegedly abducted and killed in 2008 by suspected state agents and up to now no-one has been arrested in connection with the abductions and subsequent killings.