POLICE launched extensive investigations into the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara from the day he was reported missing, contrary to claims of inactivity by Western embassies and opposition political parties, including MDC-T, The Herald has reported.
Itai Dzamara, a journalist-cum-MDC-T activist, was last seen on March 9 this year in Glen View 7, Harare.
A report by the Zimbabwe Republic Police on the disappearance of Dzamara indicates that several people have been interviewed so far without any lead.
Searches have also failed to yield anything.
On receiving a report on Dzamara’s disappearance, police made checks with all police stations in and around Harare, but could not locate him.
On March 11, 2015, detectives from CID Law and Order Section visited the barber shop where Dzamara was said to have been kidnapped by three men while having a haircut, House Number 10701 Glen View 7.
The barber shop is owned by one Wellington Deketeke.
The detectives recorded statements from Wellington Deketeke and his brother Tichaona.
On the same day, detectives visited Dzamara’s house (Number 11640 Glen View 7) where they sought to interview his wife Sheffra, but she could not be located.
On March 12, 2015, the detectives interviewed Sheffra in the company of her lawyer Marufu Mundevere of Kadzere, Hungwe and Mandevere Legal Practitioners.
Dzamara’s brothers Pardon (30) and Patson (29) were also present.
Sheffra told the cops that between 1300 hours and 1400 hours on March 5, 2015, she saw two white twin cab pick-up trucks roaming in the neighbourhood.
On verifying with the Central Vehicle Registry, police discovered that the vehicles mentioned by Sheffra were neither Government owned nor belonged to private citizens, and all turned out to be false leads.
The CVR indicated that some of the number plates with letters ABB were solely allocated to public service vehicles — commuter omnibuses, taxis, buses and heavy duty trailers.
As a result, the information did not help investigations.
It also raised suspicion the number plates could have been false.
Sheffra told the detectives her husband left home around 0950 hours and proceeded to Deketeke’s barber shop for a haircut.
She claimed after an hour, her brother Obert Mtukudzi advised her he had been informed by Wellington Deketeke that Dzamara had been taken away by unknown male adults.
Also on March 11, 2015, the detectives visited network service providers as they intensified investigations into the whereabouts of Itai Dzamara.
They established Itai Dzamara’s mobile number (0774 036 753) made a call on March 8, 2015 at 1514 hours while at Chitubu in Glen Norah.
Dzamara received three calls on the same day between 1749 hours and 1833 hours while at Chitubu and his line became inactive thereafter.
On March 13, 2015, police issued a Press statement on Dzamara’s disappearance and information was flighted on both print and electronic media.
On March 17, 2015, Dzamara’s brother Patson gave information to CID Law and Order, Harare, about a facebook posting by Energy Mutodi.
Mutodi claimed Dzamara could be in Botswana.
Detectives interviewed Mutodi who said he got the information through a local journalist who was in contact with Dzamara.
Mutodi claimed Dzamara had contact with Mkhululi Chimoio, a journalist with The Zimbabwean based in Pretoria, South Africa.
Mutodi told the detectives Chimoio and a local journalist could reveal Dzamara’s whereabouts.
He gave the cops Chimoio’s contacts.
Mutodi also claimed Tabitha Khumalo and Thamsanqa Mahlangu of the MDC-T helped Dzamara skip the border.
Mutodi said his source was Fedelis Fengu who needed money to reveal information.
Detectives acted on the tip and interviewed Fengu, who owns Fengu and Associates.
Fengu told the cops he established friendship with Chimoio when he was a columnist for B-Metro.
Fengu further told the detectives that two days before Dzamara’s disappearance, he received a WhatsApp message from Chimoio advising that Dzamara would disappear.
Chimoio posted the message “Someone is going to plant the seed of the Arab spring in Zimbabwe” insinuating uprisings staged in North Africa had to be started in Zimbabwe by someone hence Dzamara’s disappearance would ignite civil disobedience.
Fengu also revealed Dzamara was in constant touch with Dirk Frey, the vice chairperson of “Occupy Africa Unity Square’’, Dzamara’s outfit.
The police also established, from call histories, that Dzamara was in constant touch with Tabitha Khumalo, Frey, Edgar Gobvu and Eddington Mugova before his disappearance.
Call history between Thamsanqa Mahlangu and Dzamara were unavailable as his line was said to have been inactive during the period requested.
Other persons also interviewed by the police in their bid to locate Dzamara include Steven Sibanda.
Sibanda is deputy chair for Occupy Africa Unity Square, national youth secretary for Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn and also a committee member in the National Youth Action Alliance.
He stays in Warren Park and was interviewed by the cops in the presence of Gift Mtisi, a lawyer from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Sibanda claimed a vehicle whose registration numbers he gave to the police was carrying out surveillance on him.
Police checked with CVR and established it was a false lead as the driver also resides in Warren Park.
Detectives also interviewed Dirk Frey and Charles Nyoni in the presence of their lawyer Obey Shava of Mbizvo, Muchadehama and Makoni Law Firm.
Frey told the cops Occupy Africa Unity Square comprised members from various political parties and depended on donations from well-wishers.
He indicated that Dzamara was Occupy Africa Unity Square’s chairperson.
He was deputized by Frey while Charles Nyoni was secretary general, Abel Mavhura (treasurer), Tichaona Dana (coordinator), Tafadzwa Charumbira (coordinator) and Steven Sibanda (committee member).
Frey indicated there was once a misunderstanding within the group over $200 donated to the organisation by a well-wisher from abroad with some members accusing Dzamara of misusing the donation.
Frey claimed the issue was later resolved amicably after Dzamara produced proof of expenditure.
He also alleged that some opposition political parties could have been irked by the sudden recognition and fame Dzamara attracted when he staged solo demonstrations.
Police have also acted on tips they have received from various other people without success.-Herald