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The New Age Voices - Issue 12
Youth Agenda Trust
February 11, 2011

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State Security Agents disrupt Youth Summit

State security agents disrupted a democracy summit that was held in Harare from the 27th and was supposed to end on the 30th of January.

The summit, which was organised by Youth Agenda Trust (YAT), was forced to end pre-maturely after state agents stormed the gathering and demanded to see police clearance letters despite the fact that it was a private gathering.

Three officers from the Law and Order section who could only be identified as Detective Sergeant Chakerema and Detective Sergeant Manje summoned YAT Coordinator Arnold Chamunogwa and asked him to explain why his organisation had organised the summit without their knowledge.

Chamunogwa tried in vain to explain to the officers that the organization was not supposed to seek police clearance because it was an internal meeting which was not open to the general public, much to the fury of the officers who could not take any of the explanations.

The police details disappeared from the scene but in no time suspicious unregistered vehicles took turns to visit the venue, leaving the youths with no option but to call off the summit with another day to go.

The youths were visibly terrified by developments that some of them who had come from as far as Tsholotsho, Chiredzi, and Mudzi had to pack their bags in the evening of the same day.

The frightened youths who refused to be identified told The New Age Voices that the developments at the venue were a clear sign that the government of Zimbabwe was not willing to open up democratic space despite committing itself to uphold human rights.

"This is a clear sign that Zanu PF does not want democratic processes to take place in this country. However, we will continue to fight until we have a new Zimbabwe that is tolerant to democratic gatherings and processes," said the youths.

In Zimbabwe, freedom of association and assembly remains a borrowed phenomenon and more often than not, non governmental and civic society activists have either been beaten up or arrested on trumped up charges of violating the draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

The controversial legislation is believed to have been crafted by Zanu PF spin doctor and Politburo member Jonathan Moyo during his forgettable first dance with the party that was fraught with human rights violations and saw many activists being arrested, while many opposition party, activists and supporters especially from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were unlawfully incarcerated.

Another youth activist who requested anonymity said, "We have never seen such a calculated attempt to trample on the liberties of the young people in the history of the youth movement. It is a clear act of provocation."

Meanwhile, police details from the law and order section phoned Chamunogwa last week threatening him and summoned him to report to Southerton Police Station.

Chamunogwa told The New Age Voices that the latest incident is clear testimony that Zanu PF is running scared and is not comfortable with the youths of this country taking the lead in championing democratic processes.

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