President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has failed to walk the talk in terms of respect for human rights as evidenced by their continued silence on Itai Dzamara’s continued disappearance.
Dzamara, through his Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) campaign held demonstrations challenging President Robert Mugabe to step down arguing that the Zanu (PF) leader had failed the nation of Zimbabwe through misrule.
On several occasions before his abduction, Dzamara endured the brutality of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) as the law enforcement agents tried to thwart his protests.
Following his abduction, there has been local and international outcry over Dzamara’s continued disappearance with concern being raised over government’s lackadaisical approach to the issue and as CIZC, we hold the view that his continued disappearance is in itself a serious indictment on human rights in the country.
The failure by the current and previous administration to act on Dzamara is not surprising given Zimbabwe’s well-known record of mysterious disappearances and massive crackdown of opposition and civic society activists.
CIZC remains skeptical of government’s commitment to search for Dzamara.
In 2016, Mnangagwa who was Vice President then, told the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva that Zimbabwe will actively pursue the search for Itai Dzamara and provide regular updates.
In the same year a High Court order was issued prompting police to act and provide regular updates on Dzamara.
President Mnangagwa’s public statements have however proved that respect for fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution is an alien principle to him and this is being worsened by the continued militarization of the Zimbabwean state.
As CIZC we contend that it is obligatory upon authorities to abide by section 56 (3) of the country’s Constitution which stipulates that every person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as their political affiliation or opinion.
CIZC urges the government of Zimbabwe to ensure they create safe spaces for activists and walk the talk as far as tolerance to divergent views and opinions is concerned and above all, respect citizens’ right to life despite political standing.
Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition