Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) founding president and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday condemned alleged abduction of Occupy Unity Square leader, Itai Dzamara, and called for a full state inquiry into his forced disappearance.
The opposition leader told a news conference at his party’s Harvest House headquarters that the MDC-T is dismayed by Dzamara’s alleged abduction by suspected state security agents.
Dzamara is the leader of the pressure group Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) that is calling on President Robert Mugabe to step down for allegedly failing to run the country democratically and pushing Zimbabwe’s economy into the abyss.
Mr. Tsvangirai charged that President Mugabe’s government was responsible for the disappearance of the former journalist-turned activist who was allegedly abducted by some four men driving a white Isuzu vehicle in the Glen View high density suburb on Monday.
“We are in no doubt as to the perpetrators of this abduction. We hold (President) Mugabe and his regime responsible for this morbid and senseless act. The president, who is also AU and SADC chair, cannot preside over a country where innocent citizens get abducted and disappear. Only recently, the vice president of the country was saying he was trained to shoot and kill. It is no wonder that with such reckless and misguided talk from the top leadership of the country, an innocent Zimbabwean is abducted in very suspicious circumstances,” he said.
Mr. Mugabe is the chairman of both the African Union and Southern African Development Community.
A member of the OAUS, Elvis Mugari, told Studio 7 that all members of the OAUS have been placed under state surveillance.
Despite this, Shungu Zuze, who has participated in previous demonstrations led by Dzamara, said they are planning to stage more protests demanding their leader’s release.
At the same time, Mr. Tsvangirai strongly believes that there should be a full investigation into Dzamara’s alleged abduction.
“We all know that Dzamara has been leading public but constitutional protests against the government, for which he has previously been brutally attacked by state security agents. For us, there is no wonder as to the identity of the people behind his abduction and disappearance. Zimbabweans should join us in demanding that the truth be revealed about what has happened to this innocent man. We in the MDC demand nothing short of a full investigation and the immediate arrest of the perpetrators of this barbaric act,” he said.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba told Studio 7 that she had no details of the matter although the activist’s wife has filed a report to the authorities.
Several opposition and civil society activists like Tonderai Ndira of the MDC-T were abducted and killed in the run-up to the June 2008 presidential elections but no-one has put been arrested or charged for the crimes.
Rights activist Jestina Mukoko was abducted from her house in Norton in December 2008 for allegedly using her non-profit making organization, the Zimbabwe Peace Project, to recruit youths for military training with the MDC.
She was tortured and released three months later.
Dzamara’s alleged abduction has brought the issue of forced disappearances back into the limelight with many questioning whether the police are doing anything to try and locate him. There was no official comment from the government.