Felex Share Harare Bureau—
Police should take the Dzamara family to task over the purported picture of their relative Itai in alleged detention as it is highly likely that the image is a mischievous act meant to foment instability in the country, legal experts said yesterday. The blurred picture was released by Itai’s brother, Patson, at a press conference last week.
He claimed that Itai, who went missing in March last year, was abducted by the military intelligence. Observers said the stampede by opposition political parties and the country’s detractors, principally the United States and Britain to maximise on the missing person carried a lot of questions and as such police had to get to the bottom of the matter.
Harare lawyer Terrence Hussein said the origin of the picture mattered before going to the next step. “There’s need for police to ascertain the authenticity of the picture first,” he said. “Police need to investigate where it originated from and how it will help in finding the gentleman. If they are genuine then they must be used in recovering him and if they’re proved otherwise then appropriate action should be taken.”
Another lawyer Jonathan Samukange said: “As much as I don’t like the disappearance of other people I, together with some lawyers, have already dismissed the picture as fake. He (Patson) should be ignored because he has proved to be a publicity seeker.” Director of army public relations Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore said the military intelligence had nothing to do with Dzamara’s “disappearance”.
“The claims by Itai Dzamara’s brother are totally false and a figment of his own imagination,” he said. “The army intelligence doesn’t take orders from any political party. Patson’s claims are just meant to seek media attention and mislead members of the public,” he said.
According to police, Itai was allegedly abducted by three male adults who entered a barber shop where he had gone to have a haircut in Harare and advised him that he was under arrest for stock theft.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday said police were doing all they could to ascertain Dzamara’s whereabouts. “We called him (Patson) to come and explain the source of his picture so that police can investigate,” she said.
“If a person goes missing, police act on information that comes from any source. If they get the information and keep it to themselves it doesn’t help anybody. We have complied with court orders that we flight adverts of the missing person and surprising enough they purported that they’ve information but haven’t given anything to the police.”
In July last year, police offered a reward of $10,000 to anyone with information on the whereabouts of Itai as investigations into his ‘disappearance’ intensified.
Police had been submitting fortnightly updates on investigations into his disappearance to the High Court and working closely with human rights lawyers, in compliance with a court order issued in March last year. Patson yesterday said his family was convinced that it was Itai in the blurred picture because of his physical features.
He said: “It’s a ridiculous question. Do you have a brother or a child? Do you know his eyes? Do you know his feet? Can you use those eyes and feet to identify him or her? Those are the features that are actually there on that picture. “ One of them is his eye and foot. Everyone in our family has confirmed that it’s Itai.”