OPPOSITION MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has sensationally claimed that the late human rights activist and party executive member, Patson Dzamara, who succumbed to cancer of the colon on Wednesday, may have been poisoned by State security agents.
Addressing mourners at the Dzamara family home in Glen View, Harare, yesterday, Chamisa said circumstances leading to the death of Dzamara were similar to what the late party founder Morgan Tsvangirai went through before he died of colon cancer in February 2018.
Chamisa said Tsvangirai, who served as Prime Minister in the inclusive government of 2009 to 2013 after being a virulent critic of the Zanu PF government for several years, might also have been poisoned during Cabinet meetings.
He said he once warned Tsvangirai against eating food served during Cabinet meeting, but the latter just laughed it off.
“For five years in Cabinet, I didn’t even touch a cup of tea until (the late former President Robert) Mugabe asked me: ‘Who told you I practise witchcraft?’ I even avoided the 9am teabreak and told (Tendai) Biti and Tsvangirai that they were risking their lives,” Chamisa said, adding that he had also warned incarcerated investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Job Sikhala against eating prison food.
“The way Dzamara died is the same way Tsvangirai died. Because we were swimming in a dam infested with crocodiles, Tsvangirai would laugh it off saying I would die of hunger but I knew these people — Zanu PF ministers were not to be trusted.”
Dzamara, a fierce critic of the Zanu PF government, died at a private medical facility in Harare shortly after sympathisers had raised US$14 000 of the US$27 000 required for his surgery. He is set to be buried today at his rural home in Mutoko.
Dzamara was vocal over human rights violations in the country which led to his arrest on several occasions after staging solo protests to force government to account for his missing brother Itai, who was abducted by suspected State security agents in 2015. He once claimed to have been injected with an unknown substance while in prison, adding that the substance could have caused the cancer.
Turning to the socio-economic and political crisis in the country, Chamisa said: “Freedom is coming to Zimbabwe. You will be happy and forget that you have been subjected to gross violation of your rights. In whatever way this country will be freed from this evil.”
He added that he was aware that most human rights violations being perpetrated against his supporters were meant to coerce the opposition to dance to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tune.
“I want you to understand that if you talk too much they will harm you. These marks Dzamara is having today showed he was fishing in a river infested with crocodiles. We want you to understand that. Look at (Zimbabwe Peace Project director) Jestina Mukoko who is here she faced it,” Chamisa said.
Mukoko, the director of Zimbabwe Peace Project, was abducted by suspected State security agents from her home in Norton in December 2008 and released nearly three weeks later after severe torture.
Chamisa said he was surprised that some Zanu PF members and other regime supporters were still insisting that there was no crisis in the country at a time when several human rights and opposition activists were in hiding while others were in remand prison over various trumped-up charges.