Zimbabwean Political Activist Patson Dzamara Has Died
Dr Patson Dzamara passed away this Wednesday morning ahead of a scheduled surgery for colon cancer.
Local Zimbabwean media reports that prominent Zimbabwean political activist, Dr Patson Dzamara, has died. News of his death emerged this morning following an announcement by businessman and political aid Nigel Chanakira. Dzamara had reportedly been battling colon cancer and was scheduled for surgery before he tragically passed away just hours prior.
Tributes have since been pouring in for Dzamara on social media.
@nigelchanakira He wanted closure for his brother; Now we also want closure for his illness that led to his death .… https://t.co/5arB9T6Riy— Chief Ndiweni (@Chief Ndiweni) 1598427506.0
@nigelchanakira Pasi idandaro. Kudenga kunaMwari. Zvino pasi tingayemureyi. Zvarwei nhasi, mangwanafeyi. Im deeply… https://t.co/zmbtuItlj5— Macah-Ganyanie🇿🇼 (@Macah-Ganyanie🇿🇼) 1598422470.0
Rest in Power. He died not even knowing where his brother is. #ZimbabweanLivesMatter https://t.co/KMxdEQ3r4g— 𝑴𝒓 𝑬𝒏𝒉𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒊 👨🏾⚖️ (@𝑴𝒓 𝑬𝒏𝒉𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒊 👨🏾⚖️) 1598422664.0
Dzamara was the brother of missing journalist and activist Itai Dzamara who led a pro-democracy movement called "Occupy Africa Unity Square" which demanded the resignation of then President Robert Gabriel Mugabe in March 2015. The movement inspired public demonstrations outside Zimbabwe's legislative offices as well as the president's offices. Dzamara wrote a letter to then Minister of Justice Emmerson Mnangagwa for the urgent investigation of his brother's disappearance but allegedly received no response. Itai's whereabouts are still unknown.
In 2016, Dzamara was arrested for his involvement in anti-bond notes protest. The bond notes were introduced by the Zimbabwean government in alleged efforts to alleviate bankruptcy faced by Zimbabwean Treasury. Civilians like Dzamara rejected the use of bond-notes as they eridacted the easily exchangeable US dollar. Dzamara was arrested with eight other protestors but allegedly singled out, blindfolded, beaten and taken away.
Dzamara's death comes amidst continued civil unrest in Zimbabwe due to allegations of corruption and human rights violations. The arrest of journalist Hopewell Chin'ono and several others has admittedly put Mnangagwa's leadership into question. Demonstrations linked with Chin'ono's arrest have culminated in the mass arrests of civilians including famed author Tsitsi Dangarembga.
Political regulatory bodies such as the AU and SADC have failed to adequately respond. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently sent an envoy to meet with Mnangagwa but upon arrival, they failed to include the MDC and civil organisation groups in the meetings.
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