President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba says it is not Mugabe’s task to take a leading role in investigating the whereabouts of activist Itai Dzamara who disappeared in March.
Charamba’s reaction comes only days after a prayer meeting for Dzamara which was attended by opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni as well as expelled Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front members Jabulani Sibanda and Temba Mliswa.
The MDC-T has hailed the prayer meeting as a convergence of Zimbabweans with different political persuasions, all eager to see Mugabe go.
According to The Herald, Charamba said: “I dismiss calls for the President to pronounce himself on the matter as pre-eminently political and thus not worthy of his attention. People go missing here and elsewhere in the world.
“In our case, some skip the borders to go to foreign lands, others get caught up in mishaps and still others might just change location and withdraw from contacts. The fact of the missing persons need not indict sitting governments the way it is playing out here.
“The script we’re getting from those that pretend to be concerned about a missing citizen is that the government is guilty until proven innocent.
“It’s a strange sense of justice and there are also claims that Dzamara was an opponent of the government. Dzamara was never an opponent, let alone an enemy of the government much as he and his associates, obviously to give profile and consequence to themselves, may have had that as a wish-image.
“What obligates sitting governments in respect of missing persons is for them to enquire and investigate as to their whereabouts, and this in line with basic international norms and expectations, principally that governments stand in loco parentis to all citizenry.
“This, the government of Zimbabwe has, is, will do, albeit without fanfare as is being demanded by persons, parties and interests which seek to feed political fate on the missing person.
“When it’s appropriate, a public report shall be made by the investigating authorities in ways that do not jeopardise investigations, but never for the edification of persons, parties or interests whether local or foreign.
“It’s clear to the government that there’s a vain hope to use the missing person for political parties to regain political foothold and mileage and in the case of foreign interests to put Zimbabwe back in the dock.
“It leaves government wondering whether or not the whole incident is not a politically calculated contrivance. Before long, investigations shall reveal.”