HARARE – MP’s from the main opposition Movement Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) walked out of parliament on Thursday after the Speaker blocked a motion to discuss the abduction of journalist turned activist Itai Dzamara.

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Former ICT Minister and Kuwadzana (MDC-T) MP Nelson Chamisa
Former ICT Minister and Kuwadzana (MDC-T) MP Nelson Chamisa

The MDC-T MP’s walked out of parliament after stand-in Speaker Reuben Marumahoko denied Kuwadzana East legislator Nelson Chamisa’s motion to debate the abduction of fiery president Robert Mugabe critic and activist Itai Dzamara.

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Since his abduction on Monday, Dzamara has attracted the spotlight and has become a topical issue locally and internationally.

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Yesterday demonstrations rocked Zimbabwe when MDC-T youths marched in protest at the abduction and demanding that Dzamara be released immediately.

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Police assault MDC youths protesting Dzamara abduction
Police assaulted MDC youths protesting Dzamara abduction

Parliament’s question and answer session was also brought to a stand-still after the MDC-T parliamentarians asked the home affairs minister whether Dzamara is safe and why he is being kept incommunicado.

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“Chamisa wanted the motion to be debated but the speaker blocked it and we have seen no reason to continue with the business of the day because this is a crucial issue which needs reaction,” said one legislator.

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Tatove kuenda kudzimba dzedu (we are now going home),” the MP said.

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In an interview with Nehanda Radio Chamisa said: “We raised a motion of national importance in terms of standing order 17(1), order 38, and raising issues around security of persons, human rights and liberty.”

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“It is the duty of the legislators within the statutes of parliament to exercise our oversight and presentation role in shaping democratic practises. The speaker felt the issue is not very urgent and can be debated next week but we believe Dzamara’s issue is very urgent.

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“It actually needs to be resolved now, not tomorrow so our MPs felt if that cannot be debated then there is nothing of significant importance that is worth debating and that is when people left,” Chamisa said.

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Yesterday the acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government is concerned with the disappearance and alleged abduction of journalist and pro-democracy activist, Dzamara.

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The activist has been staging protests in Harare’s Africa Unity Square demanding the resignation of Mugabe. He was allegedly abducted in the capital on Monday and has not been heard from since.

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However police sources yesterday said Dzamara is being held at the Harare central police station’s law and order division.

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Background to the story

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Dzamara is still missing after being abducted by suspected state security agents on Monday morning. The ‘Occupy Africa Unity Square’ protest leader was abducted from a barbershop in Glen View by five men who forcibly shoved him into a white isuzu twincab.

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Despite swirling rumours on Tuesday that a body had been found near the Goromonzi turn-off, Dzamara’s brother, Patson issued the following statement;

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“I am receiving several enquiries about the whereabouts of my brother Itai Dzamara and the reports that he has passed on. Nothing has reached us yet. No official communication has reached us yet. If anyone has information let us know.”

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Dzamara’s wife meanwhile spoke to the independent VOA Studio 7 on Tuesday and demanded that the Mugabe regime “bring back my husband in one piece”.

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In October last year Dzamara was arrested after he called on Mugabe to step down in a petition that was delivered to the presidential Munhumutapa Offices. Since then he has been arrested, assaulted and tortured several times for his ongoing protest.

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In November Dzamara was admitted to a Harare hospital alongside human rights lawyer Kennedy Masiye after both sustained serious injuries from brutal assaults by more than 20 police officers who disrupted their protest. – Nehanda Raio