HARARE – If the recent picture of missing activist Itai Dzamara is anything to go by, Zimbabweans have every reason to “drown” in fear.
While the State operatives have denied responsibility for the abduction of the missing activist, the country has been known of having individuals in the past that have disappeared without a trace.
Since Dzamara’s disappearance, his wife has approached the court demanding State officials, who she suspects abducted her husband to release him.
A court order was given, ordering the police and the Central Intelligence Organisation to assist in the search for the activist and give weekly updates to the court.
However, since the order was given, no news had been received on the activist’s whereabouts. This is despite the police offering $10 000 for anyone who knew his whereabouts.
The only news came this week, after Dzamara’s family produced a picture, which it claimed was that of the missing activist.
The picture shows a man in a sitting position, with his arms behind and wearing a hooded face-mask that only showed his eyes.
Many believe Dzamara was abducted by State agents because of his stance against President Robert Mugabe, in which he called for the nonagenarian leader’s resignation for misrule.
He led the Occupy Africa Unity Square campaign, which incensed the ruling government.
While we may not readily risk accepting the picture produced by the Dzamara family, claiming it to be that of the missing activist, whoever is with him must just release him.
It is quite traumatic for the wife and the children who have endured over a year without him in the house.
It is not proper that citizens just disappear without a trace, especially after they have expressed their democratic right to speak about the country’s ills.
It is everyone’s right as enshrined in the Constitution to challenge those in power when s/he feels they are not governing in the best way possible.
Such rights are important in any democratic society.
However, in Zimbabwe, citizens are drenched in fear due to such unaccounted for disappearances. The few brave ones are either beaten or disappear in the manner Dzamara went.
People are now afraid to exercise their democratic right to express their feelings, to associate with certain groups, worse still to criticise the regime.
Instead of enjoying State protection, the people are terrified of any contact with the system’s apparatus.
However, it is still our hope that Dzamara is safe and well wherever he is.