HARARE – Thousands of people on Saturday attended a prayer rally to mark four months since the abduction of journalist turned activist Itai Dzamara.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, expelled Zanu PF members – former war veteran’s leader Jabulani Sibanda and former MP Temba Mliswa – attended the prayer rally at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield.
Ousted former Vice President Joice Mujuru who was expected to attend is said to have pulled out for unexplained reasons. Former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the former vice president will be “engaged elsewhere”.
“She will not be attending, I have talked to her,” Gumbo said adding Mujuru will “be busy with something else” without elaborating.
Family spokesman, Patson Dzamara, said the event was organized by Bishop Ancelimo Magaya of Grace Ablaze Ministries International.
The prayer meeting was abandoned last month following some disagreements between the Dzamara family and church leaders who were organizing the event.
Dzamara was abducted from a barbershop in Glen View on the 9th of March. Witnesses say five men, suspected to be state security agents, approached Dzamara and accused him of stealing a cow before they grabbed him and shoved him into a white Isuzu twincab.
In October last year Dzamara was arrested after he called on President Robert Mugabe to step down in a petition that was delivered to the presidential Munhumutapa Offices. Since then he had been arrested, assaulted and tortured several times for his ongoing protest.
In November Dzamara was admitted to a Harare hospital alongside human rights lawyer Kennedy Masiye after both sustained serious injuries from brutal assaults by more than 20 police officers that disrupted their protest.
Just before his abduction Nehanda Radio interviewed Dzamara and asked him how he would like to be remembered: Below was his answer:
“For having made a contribution – to the best of my ability, genuinely and sincerely – towards the creation of a better Zimbabwe. Where people enjoy their freedoms and with dignity. Where leaders are accountable and answerable to the people. Where the resources and wealth benefit and uplift the lives of all.
“Where elections are fair and credible contests of ideas and policies. Lastly, a Zimbabwe that coexists and competes with the rest of the world, favourably, viably and in harmony.”
A High Court judge has directed that a team of police detectives be deployed to work closely with Dzamara’s legal practitioners to search for him “at all such places as may be within their jurisdiction in terms of the law and report progress of such search to the Registrar of the High Court by 1600 hours every Friday fortnightly until his whereabouts have been determined.”
In a by-monthly update to the High Court, the head of Law and Order in the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Crispen Makedenge, said there have been no leads so far.
This article was originally published on Nehanda Radio.