THE family of missing Zimbabwe human rights activist Itai Dzamara said on Friday they would hire a private investigator to look for him as they have lost trust in the Zimbabwean police.
Dzamara, a father of two, was abducted by six men from a barber’s shop in the Glenview suburb of Harare on March 9 and has not been since then.
The former journalist had been staging protests in Harare’s Africa Unity Square calling on long-time leader President Robert Mugabe to step down. Dzamara’s abductors were travelling in a white twin-cab bakkie with a “blurred” number plate.
In a report submitted to the Zimbabwe High Court in Harare three weeks ago, police said they were “pursuing all possible avenues” in the case.
However, in an exclusive interview with News24 in Harare on Friday, the family’s spokesperson, Itai’s young brother Dr Patson Dzamara, said the police are doing nothing to find his brother.
He said the family suspected the state was responsible for his disappearance and that they were now in discussion with civic society organisations to help fund a private investigation.
“We are now engaging a private investigator because we have completely lost trust in police. There are doing nothing to find our brother.
He said the family remained confident that Itai was alive and would be home with his two young children soon.
“The children now seem to know what happened to their father and are asking daily when is he coming home,” he said.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) also recently said it believed that Mugabe’s government was behind the abduction.
The missing activist was beaten unconscious by police last November during one of his Unity Square protests. A human rights lawyer who went to his aid was also assaulted.
This week an official from the ruling Zanu-PF claimed the MDC was responsible for Dzamara’s disappearance, adding that the activist was somewhere “enjoying life”.
Zanu-PF’s Masvingo provincial chairperson, Paradzai Chakona, told journalists that the MDC was holding Dzamara in a bid to drum up financial support from the West. The MDC dismissed the claim.
Human Rights Watch last week also said that Zimbabwean authorities appeared to be doing nothing to find the activist.