PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will not pronounce himself on missing activist Itai Dzamara because the case is “pre-eminently political and thus not worthy of his attention”, the veteran leader’s spokesperson has said.
Dzamara was abducted close to his Harare home on March 9 this year and has not been seen or heard from since with civil society organisations, opposition parties and western embassies in the capital demanding his release.
Although the activist was brutally beaten up and left for dead by the police before his abduction, Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba claimed Dzamara was “never an opponent, let alone an enemy, of the Government”.
The former journalist was beaten up for staging protests in Harare demanding Mugabe’s resignation, accusing the Zanu PF leader of ruining the country through inept and corrupt leadership.
Even so, Charamba told the state-owned Herald newspaper that the government – which has arrested many citizens for utterances vaguely critical of and denigrating Mugabe – did not see Dzamara as an irritant.
“It’s a strange sense of justice and there are also claims that Dzamara was an opponent of Government,”Charamba is quoted as saying by the Herald.
“Dzamara was never an opponent, let alone an enemy, of the Government much as he and his associates, obviously to give profile and consequence to themselves, may have had that as a wish-image.”
Charamba also suggested that Dzamara’s abduction and disappearance could have been staged by the opposition in a bid to find a spark for its waning fortunes.
“It is clear to Government that there is a vain hope to use the missing person for political parties to regain political foothold and mileage and in the case of foreign interests to put Zimbabwe back in the dock.
“It leaves Government wondering whether or not the whole incident is not a politically calculated contrivance. Before long, investigations shall reveal,” he said.
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Western embassies in Harare have been vocal over Dzamara’s disappearance, expressing deep concern at the lack of progress in investigations by the police.
The main political leaders, including former State and Zanu PF vice president Joice Mujuru, have also condemned the abduction of the activist.
The leaders, including former war veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda, joined hundreds of Zimbabweans at a prayer meeting held for Dzamara at the weekend.
Mugabe, busy being regularly absent from the country, has however remained mum.
Explaining his boss’ silence over the matter, Charamba said Dzamara was not deserving of Mugabe’s attention.
“People go missing here and elsewhere in the world,” he said.
“I dismiss calls for the President to pronounce himself on the matter as pre-eminently political and thus not worthy of his attention.
“In our case, some skip the borders to go to foreign lands, others get caught up in mishaps and still others might just change location and withdraw from contacts.
“The fact of the missing persons need not indict sitting Governments the way it is playing out here.”
The opposition MDC-T party has claimed that Dzamara was seized by State security operatives but Charamba said government could not be “guilty until proven innocent”.
The administration will give out a detailed report when it’s ready and in its own time, he added.
“The script we are getting from those that present to be concerned about a missing citizen is that Government is guilty until proven innocent,” he said.
“This, the Government of Zimbabwe has, is, will do, albeit without fanfare as is being demanded by persons, parties and interests which seek to feed political fate on the missing person.
“When it is appropriate, a public report shall be made by the investigating authorities in ways that do not jeopardise investigations, but never for the edification of persons, parties or interests whether local or foreign.”