Itai Dzamara

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Itai Dzamara
Itai Dzamara
Born Itai Dzamara
(1979-08-07)August 7, 1979
Disappeared March 9, 2015 (aged 35)[1]
Glen Norah
Nationality Zimbabwe
Education Highfield High SchooI, Mbizi Primary SchooI
Occupation
  • Journalist
  • Political activist.
Spouse(s) Sheffra Dzamara
Children Nenyasha Dzamara, Nokutenda Dzamara

Itai Dzamara is a Zimbabwean journalist and political activist known in Zimbabwe mostly for his Occupy Africa Unity Square campaign against the government of President Robert Mugabe. He became famous through his hand delivered petition to the president of Zimbabwe and the Occupy he began soon after.

Background

Dzamara was born on August 7, 1979 at AlI Souls Mission in Mutoko.[2] He is married to Sheffra Dzamara and the couple have two children, a son named Nokutenda Dzamara and daughter Nenyasha Dzamara

Educational Background

Itai attended Mbizi Primary SchooI in Highfield before moving to Highfield High SchooI for his ordinary and advanced level studies. He studied journalism and mass communication at Christian College of Southern Africa in 1999.[2] He also studied business and economic journalism and as of 2014 he was said to be studying Law.

Dzamara and the Africa Unity Square Occupation

Dzamara and colleagues occupying the Africa Unity Square
Itai Dzamara advocated for the occupation of the Africa Unity Square in Harare. This place is located on the heart of the Harare city centre adjacent the Parliament Building. According to Dzamara, the occupation of the square was a way of communicating dissatisfaction in the country's leadership particularly president Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF government.[3]

Dzamara said up to 50 people made themselves available and openly grouped with them as they occupied the square, starting from around 9am in the morning. The Zimbabwe Republic Police deployed almost 70 members in heavy riot gear.[3] The Africa Unity Square in Harare is a few blocks away from the offices of the president and this made the occupation a potential security threat. After the occupation, Dzamara wrote; “we occupied Africa Unity Square today, yet again forced the state to respond, and, yet again, demonstrated our goodwill by agreeing to negotiate. We are the people! We are the numbers!" [3] Those that gathered with Dzamara at the square said they wanted a response from President Mugabe, to the demands for him to admit failure, step down and pave way for a process towards finding a new national plan for governance and leadership.[3]

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The Petition to Mugabe

Itai Dzamara wrote a letter to president Mugabe requesting him to retire from office. He hand delivered the letter to the President's office at Munhumutapa Building in Harare. According to him, the petition to Mugabe encouraged him to step down immediately and pave way for a process of engagement involving all national stakeholders, towards the establishment of a new administration that takes over, to manage the country and prepare for fresh elections.[3] After being sent to several offices at Munhumutapa Building, he was later on released after having been advised not to go through with his plans. ."[4]

Detention

After going back to the president's office, Dzamara and his two colleagues were taken to a holding area where armed police officers watched them carefully. Dzamara wrote that the intelligence officers from the president's office regarded them as high profile suspects and they deserved high level security. They were transported the Harare Central Police Station where they were immediately take to the the underground holding bays."[4] Senior police officers came one by one quizzing Dzamara about his agenda of occupying th Africa Unity Square. They warned him of the devastating consequences of the move but he remained adamant.[4]

Beating by The Police

The final episode of the "Occupy Africa Unity Square" demonstration ended sadly for Dzamara as he was severely beaten by the Zimbabwe Republic Police support unity force which was deployed in full force. Dzamara was beaten together with his fellow activists and his lawyer. He was taken to a local hospital where he was given treatment. A few hours after he was admitted into hospital, the social media was awash with photos of Dzamara lying unconscious after the beating at the hand of the police.[5] He shocked the people when he started posting articles on his Facebook page called The News Leader encouraging the people to continue with the peaceful demonstration against he Mugabe government.[6] He warned the people not to engage in violent revenge against the police or the government.

The Abduction

Latest news reports and rumours at the time speculated that Itai Dzamara had been abducted by five unknown assailants while in a barbershop.[7] This was the second time that Dzamara was abducted after he was reported to have been abducted again together with four other people who were part of the Occupy Africa Unity Square in December 2014. There were also rumours circulating on social media and electronic media speculating that Dzamara may actually be dead. One of the most vocal claimed that there was a body found dead in Goromonzi with speculations running wild that it was the body of Itai Dzamara.[8] There was some speculation generated by Energy Mutodi who claimed that the abduction of Dzamara was staged and that he was in hiding in Botswana.[9]

Picture Gallery

Legacy

Dzamara won admiration from Human rights activists and opposition political parties who sympathised and supported his move. He was credited for his firm and his non-violent approach to politics.

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References

  1. Missing Person Appeal, Kubatana Facebook page, Published: 25 Mar 2015, Retrieved: 13 May 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 'Occupy Unity Square' activist speaks from his hospital bed, Bulawayo 24News, Published: November 10, 2014, Retrieved: April 2, 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 , Journalist continues with ‘Occupy Africa Unity Square’ protest, "Nehanda Radio", published:21 Oct 2014,retrieved:21 nOV 2014"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 I. Dzamara, Occupy Africa Unity Square: Dzamara's interrogation, The Daily News, Published:19 Oct 2014, Retrieved:21 Nov 2014
  5. , Itai Dzamara who hand-delivered 'resign now' letter to Mugabe gets heavily beaten AGAIN, MyZimbabwe, Published:06 Nov 2014, Retrieved:21 Nov 2014"
  6. Itai Dzamara, Itai Dzamara, Facebook Page, Retrieved:20 Nov 2014"
  7. Journalist Itai Dzamara who hand-delivered a 'please resign' letter to Mugabe mysteriously disappears, My Zimbabwe, Published: March 10, 2015, Retrieved: March 10, 2015
  8. BREAKING NEWS: Itai Dzamara “Dead Body-Look Alike” Found In Goromonzi, Zim24News, Published: March 11, 2015, Retrieved: March 12, 2015
  9. Energy Mutodi Itai Dzamara hiding in Botswana, Facebook, Published: March 14, 2014, Retrieved: May 8, 2015