THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

CIO agents ordered to return seized radios
The Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe)
December 20, 2006

A GOKWE magistrate has ordered two state security agents to return the radio receivers they seized from teachers in the area after the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) successfully filed an application for the granting of a provisional order to that effect.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) reported this week that the provisional order, which was granted on December 16, 2006 also requires the officer-in-charge at Gokwe police station to serve the application and provisional order on the security agents from the President's Office identified as Mlotshwa and Emmanuel Takadiyi.

Rangu Nyamurundira and Dzimbabwe Chimbga of the ZLHR represented the teachers.

According to the ZLHR, Assistant Inspector Dube of Gokwe Police Station refused to serve the court papers on the security agents, insisting that as a state institution the police could not subpoena another state institution, saying this was incorrect and unlawful.

The ZLHR lawyers were thus forced to serve the court papers themselves at Government Complex where they met Mlotshwa. Mlotswa initially insisted that the lawyers serve the papers on the Minister of State Security instead. He then phoned his superior in Gweru, who also insisted on the papers being served on the minister.

The ZLHR lawyers, however, maintained that only the cited state agents were to receive the court documents. The lawyers were subsequently asked to provide their personal details, which included their home addresses, contact numbers and fathers' names. After filling in a form Mlotshwa then accepted a copy of the application and provisional order, but refused to receive a copy on behalf of his colleague, Takadiyi, who was away at the time.

Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) told MISA-Zimbabwe on November 7, 2006 that the radios had been confiscated from 17 teachers by persons who identified themselves as working for the President's Office.

Majongwe said PTUZ bought the short-wave radio receivers for teachers in the area to enable them to keep abreast with developments in the country because of poor Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings' television and radio reception in the area.

Meanwhile, the ZLHR says it is deeply concerned by the unlawful conduct of the two state agents in forcibly seizing private property from the teachers without any legal authority to do so. Such conduct not only violated the teachers' right to property but also infringed their constitutional right to receive information by denying them the use of their radios.

These two fundamental human rights were clearly provided for and protected by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and other regional and international human rights instruments to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
"It is indeed regrettable that authorities continue to engage in unlawful behaviour in their attempts to prevent the public from seeking information from alternative sources", ZLHR said.

It was alleged that Mlotshwa and Takadiyi, working in the President's Office at Government Complex in Gokwe went to Simbe Primary School sometime in November 2006. They are said to have produced a list with names of teachers who had been given "Ranger Freeplay" radios by the PTUZ.

The two state security agents proceeded to demand that three teachers at the school, Herbert Chigu, Innocent Mugwagwa and Elijah Maramba, hand over the radios to them, claiming that it was a national issue.

Following the demands and threats of the two agents, Chigu and Mugwagwa handed over their radios, while Maramba was told to bring his radio when schools re-opened as he had taken it to his village.

On December 2, 2006 the two security agents proceeded to Njelele Secondary School to forcibly seize a similar radio from another teacher, Tadius Masuka. Masuka's wife, who was at home at the time, was ordered to hand over the radio, which she did.

Due to poor transmission coverage and reception, only 30 percent of the country receives radio and television signals from the state-controlled broadcaster while the other 70 percent relies on foreign stations.

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.