Govt taken to task over abductions

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An opposition legislator has called on the government to accede to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances to stop the culture of State-sponsored abductions.

Dangamvura legislator Prosper Mutseyami (CCC) made the call in Parliament while raising a point of national interest on Thursday.

“My point of national importance is that we have an International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on the 30th of August, 2024. Zimbabwe has neither signed nor acceded to the convention,” Mutseyami said.

“This convention applies to the victims who would have died as a result of the disaster, like Cyclone Idai, it applies as well to enforced disappearances like we have situations we had, of people like Itai Dzamara, Patrick Nabenyama, and many others who passed on then.”

Nabanyama and Itai Dzamara are yet to be accounted for following their abduction in 2000 and 2015, respectively.

Dzamara was snatched from a barbershop in Harare’s Glen View suburb by suspected State security agents on March 9, 2015.

He had addressed a rally in Harare prior to his abduction where he called for mass action to address the deteriorating economic conditions.

In 2015, High Court judge Justice David Mangota ordered the government “to do all things necessary to determine Itai Dzamara’s whereabouts.”

However, the government has failed to give regular updates.

Nabanyama, who was a polling agent for former Education minister David Coltart in the volatile June 2000 parliamentary elections, was reportedly kidnapped by suspected State security agents and war veterans from his home in Bulawayo.

He was never seen again and was in August 2010 declared dead by the courts.

Dozens of other unarmed civilians were kidnapped and killed during Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

“My appeal, through your office, is to find means as to how we can come up with the motivation for our government to accede to this convention since I believe it is an important convention which applies to us as a country,” Mutseyami said.

Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda ruled: “We will engage the relevant minister and find out the modalities on how to handle your request.”

International human rights activists have repeatedly called on the government to ratify the 2007 convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance to stop the abductions which are regarded in international law as a crime against humanity. – News Day