Back to Index
police ban radios, crack down on NGOs
Police in Zimbabwe
have announced a ban on the possession of shortwave radio receivers,
saying they are being used to communicate hate speech ahead of next
referendum and elections set to be held in July.
radios sets have been distributed by some NGOs to rural communities,
where villagers have established listening clubs to tune in to popular
independent radio stations like Radio
Voice of The People, Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa. The broadcasts
are produced by exiled Zimbabwean journalists based in Europe and
Zimbabwe has four state-controlled
radio stations with a history of supporting President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party. Two recently established independent radio stations
are also perceived to be pro-ZANU-PF. There is demand among listeners,
especially those supportive of the rival Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), for other viewpoints.
In the last
in 2008, many rural constituencies with access to independent
radio broadcasts voted for the MDC formations led by Professor Welshman
Ncube and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) - a group comprising the Zimbabwe
Union of Journalists, the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, the
of African Media Women of Zimbabwe and other groups advocating
for freedom of expression - has condemned the ban on radio receivers.
In a statement,
MAZ noted that "owning and distributing radio receivers is
not illegal and that confiscating them is a gross violation of citizens’
rights to receive and impart ideas and information without interference,
as enshrined in Section 20 of the Constitution."
Urging the police to
reverse the ban, MAZ pointed out that it would deprive people of
an important source of information ahead of two critical national
In recent weeks, police
have also been conducting a crackdown on NGOs and human rights groups,
raiding offices, confiscating files and arresting employees.
Human Rights, whose executive director was arrested,
along with two other employees, on charges of "forging and
manufacturing" counterfeit certificates of voter registration.
They were later released on bail. Police also raided
the offices of the Zimbabwe
Peace Project, where they confiscated cell phones and hard drives.
last elections, head of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Jestina Mukoko,
and tortured after it emerged that her organization had damning
evidence on the use of rape and torture by security forces to intimidate
The offices of the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network, an NGO that campaigns for democratic
elections, were also searched
The Ministry of Home
Affairs, responsible for the police, is headed by two co-ministers,
one from ZANU-PF and the other from the MDC.
In a statement,
Lawyers for Human Rights criticized the three-party inclusive
government, for failing to prevent "a sustained and escalating
assault on NGOs involved in civic education, human rights monitoring,
public outreach and service provision - all of which are lawful
Although President Robert
Mugabe has called for peaceful conduct during and after the referendum
and national elections, violence continues to be reported across
Over the weekend,
a 12-year-old boy died after the shelter he was sleeping in was
set on fire during skirmishes
between ZANU-PF and MDC supporters in Manicaland, 200km east of
The house was
petrol-bombed by people believing that the boy’s father, a
candidate for Tsvangirai’s party in the up-coming elections,
was sleeping inside.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.