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Zimbabwe High Court Orders Police to Find Missing Political Activist

FILE: Itai Dzamara staging a sit-in at Harare's Africa Unity Square, October 21, 2014. (Photo: By Frank Chikowore)

A Harare High Court judge has ordered police to intensify the search for missing pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara who was allegedly abducted in the capital city’s Glen View high density suburb by five unknown assailants on Monday.

High Court Judge David Mangota on Friday ordered the authorities to intensify investigations into the alleged abduction of Dzamara – leader of the Occupy Africa Unity Square pressure group - that is calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down for allegedly failing to run the country democratically and pushing Zimbabwe’s economy into the abyss.

One of Dzamara’s lawyers, Charles Kwaramba, confirmed that the ruling that was made following an urgent application filed by the activist’s wife, Sheffra, on Thursday.

The attorney said the judge, however, refused to order a search of the country’s intelligence holding cells and military bases citing security reasons.

This followed submissions by state counsel, Fortune Chimbaru, representing Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi , Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and Central Intelligence Organization boss Happyton Bonyongwe, that the state was not aware of Dzamara’s whereabouts and was equally concerned.

A police report and court documents show that Dzamara was abducted by five unidentified men who were travelling in a white Isuzu vehicle.

Justice Mangota ordered the state to report back to the court every two weeks on the police’s progress in the investigations.

MDC founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai, is accusing Mr. Mugabe’s government of kidnapping Dzamara - a charge that Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, has denied.

Police Commissioner Chihuri on Thursday also urged his officers to intensify their investigations into Dzamara’s disappearance while Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who described Dzamara’s kidnapping as “barbaric”, told parliament that the perpetrators would be brought to book if apprehended.

Local and international civic groups, the United States, European Union, Canada and other foreign governments and entities, have condemned the former journalist’s abduction.

Dzamara’s family and the pro-democracy movement in the country are worried about his abduction. In 2008, a number of MDC activists were abducted only to be found dead a few weeks later.

Human rights activist Jestina Mukoko was abducted in the same year. She was detained incommunicado for three months but no-one has been brought to book over the issue. The same applies to MDC activists and atrocities committed on innocent civilians in the early 1980s by a national army crack unit, the Five Brigade, which left almost 20,000 people dead in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions.