A prominent Zimbabwean journalist and pro-democracy activist snatched in broad daylight in a Harare suburb remains missing more than two weeks after his abduction. According to witnesses, Itai Dzamara was seized by five men while getting his hair cut March 9 and loaded into an unmarked truck. He hasn’t been seen since, and authorities say they have no leads on his welfare or whereabouts.
Mr. Dzamara heads the pro-democracy group Occupy Africa Unity Square that calls on President Robert Mugabe, holding power since 1987, to step down. The group takes its name from Africa Unity Square in the capital, the site of Zimbabwe’s parliament and federal courts. He has pressed the demands in his writings, and two days before his kidnapping he spoke at an opposition rally calling for mass protests against political and economic conditions in the Southern African nation.
The United States joins the European Union, Canada, the United Kingdom, and international human rights groups in deep concern over Mr. Dzamara’s disappearance.It is notable that the government of Zimbabwe officially acknowledged concern over what it called a “barbaric act,” and the United States prevails on the government of Zimbabwe to pursue action to resolve the case.
The United States urges the Zimbabwean authorities to mobilize their full resources to locate Mr. Dzamara and investigate the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, as well as to ensure the protection of his human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States stands with Mr. Dzamara and the people of Zimbabwe in defending the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and joins calls for Mr. Dzamara’s immediate and safe return to his family and friends.