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patson dzamara

Patson Dzamara

HRD & President
Off The Hook Leadership and Development Institute
Mail and Guardian Article

This Friday, March 9, will be three years to the day that my brother disappeared. He disappeared on the morning of March 9 2015. He was abducted by five men at a barber shop.

"When my brother Itai Dzamara was abducted, my life changed drastically. ... I had to divorce my comfort zone and take a bold stand against human rights violations and leadership failure in Zimbabwe."

Patson Dzamara was a human rights defender working for good governance and against corruption in Zimbabwe. He consistently spoke out against corruption and impunity within government ranks. Patson Dzamara’s brother, Itai Dzamara, is also a human rights defender, journalist, and organiser of the Occupy Africa Unity Square, a project launched in 2014 that demands accountability and transparency from the Zimbabwean government. Itai Dzamara was abducted and disappeared on 9 March 2015, and his whereabouts remain unknown. Patson Dzamara explained that his brother’s disappearance motivated him to “...take a bold stand against human rights violations and leadership failure in Zimbabwe”. Patson died of colon cancer on 26 August, 2020.

Human rights defenders in Zimbabwe are systematically targeted and subjected to arbitrary detention, arrest, disappearance and torture. Legislation severely curtails freedom of expression, assembly, movement and association and has led the UN Special Representative on human rights defenders to state, back in 2006, that “the human rights community as a whole, and defenders individually, are at a critical level of risk”. This