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Police raid Radio Dialogue

BULAWAYO - SECURITY forces in Bulawayo reportedly raided Radio Dialogue offices and confiscated 180 solar and kinetic energy propelled radios from the premises of the non-governmental organisation on Friday, March 1, 2013.

 

Radio Dialogue Editor Zenzele Ndebele is said to have been taken to Hillside Police Station for questioning accompanied by his lawyer, Kucaca Phulu.

 

The raid was reportedly a joint operation between Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) details from the Hillside Police Station's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and members of the shadowy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

 

According to a source who witnessed the raid, the security forces were reportedly armed with a search warrant which purported that they had come in connection with   the "possession of smuggled radio receivers € by Radio Dialogue.

 

The security forces are said to have requested to see the supporting paperwork for the entry of the confiscated radios into the country.

 

Commenting on the developments, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson and Bulawayo Agenda Director (BA) Thabani Nyoni said:

"It has become very clear that the issue of radios is being used as a scapegoat to persecute civil society organisations and to delegitimize and criminalise their otherwise legal and handy work.

"It is also meant to stifle access to information and give illegal power and means to the instruments of force to poke into transparent activities of civil society organisations in Zimbabwe. €

 

Commenting on the current clampdown on Civil society organisations, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai denounced the raids and unwarranted search of NGO premises.

"Search procedures must not be applied selectively, and the right to privacy needs to be respected. Otherwise, the independence of associations and the safety of their members will be seriously at risk, € he emphasized.

 

In another report, ZRP details are allegedly going door to door in Gandanzara, Ward 23 of Makoni South, in Manicaland in search of the radios after Police Spokesperson Charity Charamba claimed they would prejudice Zanu-PF in the forthcoming elections.

 

The widespread raids on NGOs involving the police are believed to have been triggered by the resolution made by Zanu-PF at its 13th annual National People's Conference in Gweru in December 2012. The resolution stipulated that ZANU PF would, if need be, urge government to shut down all NGOs alleged to be errant and detouring from their mandate.

 

 

It is believed the ban on 29 organisations in February 2012, which civil society branded illegal in a joint statement, was motivated by the resolution made by the party as its 12th annual People's Conference in Bulawayo in December 2013.

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