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PRESSURE groups advocating for the release and safe return of missing journalist-cum-activist, Itai Dzamara, have announced plans to launch a trust fund to provide for his immediate family needs and other families of missing persons.
Addressing delegates attending a prayer meeting for Dzamara in Chitungwiza on Saturday, human rights defender Nixon Nyikadzino said the trust fund was meant to cushion victims’ families against economic hardships.
Dzamara, who was allegedly abducted by suspected State security agents near his Glen View home in Harare in March, was the leader of “Occupy Africa Unity Square” which campaigned for President Robert Mugabe to step down.
“We are going to take this across the borders and incorporate other African countries to protect their citizens and guarantee their safety,” Nyikadzino said.
“The trust is a symbol of his legacy and what he stood for and we hope that through this initiative, we will come up with ways of how we can get him back while creating a platform for leadership development for young people.”
Nyikadzino said the pressure groups, including human rights defenders, the Church and opposition parties, would use the trust to engage regional and international bodies to demand answers from the government on the whereabouts of Dzamara.
“We will then be able to co-ordinate our advocacy and lobby efforts so that we are better positioned to, on one hand, provide humanitarian assistance to families of missing persons, while engaging the relevant stakeholders and government bodies to guarantee the protection and security of their citizens.”
Speaking at the same event, main opposition MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe called on Mugabe to “listen to the people”.
“Open your ears (Mugabe) — the people are saying that you have done enough. The people are saying that this is not the Zimbabwe we want- where the ruling party has created two million vendors although it promised two million jobs in 2013,” she said.
Dzamara’s elder brother, Patson, said the family had not lost hope for justice to prevail.
In his solidarity message, MDC-T official Job Sikhala said they would use the trust to pile pressure on Sadc to take Mugabe to task over human rights abuses.
”He (Mugabe) will no longer be the leader of Sadc and we hope that the incoming Sadc chairperson, Botswana President Ian Khama, is going to put him to task for answers,” Sikhala said.
Bishop Ancelmo Magaya, who convened the meeting, accused the police of taking long to conclude the investigations. source-newzimbabwe