The untold story of Itai Dzamara



Zimbabwean activist Itai Dzamara applied for assistance to leave Zimbabwe eight years ago claiming that Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic agents wanted to kill, but the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR), a continental organisation for investigative journalists, to which he was referred advised him that it was not in a position to help him.

Dzamara disappeared on 9 March last year, almost seven years after he sought held, and has not been heard of since.

According to an email he sent out on 8 May 2008 which was copied to FAIR, Dzamara wanted assistance for him to leave Zimbabwe together with his wife and son, because his life was in danger.

Dzamara had two children at the time he disappeared a son aged seven and a daughter aged three.

“I  am on the hit list for the regime and have been advised to leave by insiders who say there is a plan to kill me by the regime,” he wrote to FAIR. “They broke into our home last month when we were away and left a note saying ‘we are closing in on you’ prompting us to move to another place.  We are planning to come to SA as soon as possible but in need of assistance especially regarding accommodation at least initially.”

Dzamara was a correspondent of The Zimbabwean, a London-based newspaper published by fellow Zimbabwean Wilf Mbanga, at the time.

When asked why his employer could not help him if his life was in danger, Dzamara told FAIR that Mbanga wanted him and another reporter, whom he named, to “continue the fight”, apparently for the benefit of his paper.

“No, dont contact Wilf now. I don’t want to jeopardise my plans of leaving Zim,” Dzamara wrote FAIR. “Wilf has made his position to me and (named journalist), which is that he wants us to remain here and ‘continue the fight’ apparently to the benefit of his papers. Unfortunately, he is not prepared to assist with ensuring our security or safety.

“This is probably the sixth time he has been alerted about plans to attack us and goes on to keep quiet. Our reading of it is he doesnt want us to leave mainly for the sake of having us write for him. But …, I have seen it and I know what is happening-its real, its not jokes, they want to kill people and that includes us. I have been told this by people involved in the plan. We have seen the hit lists and clear signs of them implementing their plans. I cannot wait for my time to become a dead hero.”

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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