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ZRP puts NGO's under daily surveillance, outlaws exiled radio station
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

February 25, 2013

The Zimbabwe Republic Police on Monday 25 February 2013 declared launching an offensive against Non-Governmental Organisations and outlawed broadcasts from Studio 7, an exiled radio station.

ZRP Deputy Commissioner-General Innocent Matibiri, who is in charge of Operations told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs chaired by MDC-T Member of Parliament for Glenview South Paul Madzore, that 99 percent of NGO's operating in Zimbabwe were Western sponsored and pushing for a regime change agenda.

Matibiri made the declaration while flanked by Senior Assistant Commissioner Lee Muchemwa, who is the Officer Commanding Mashonaland Central Province and Senior Assistant Commissioner Faustino Mazango, the ZRP Chief of Staff, when he appeared before the parliamentary portfolio committee to give oral evidence on the ZRP's preparedness for elections and the forthcoming referendum scheduled for 16 March 2013.

Without elaborating, Matibiri said 99 percent of the NGO's operating in Zimbabwe are Western sponsored and said their presence in the country is a "cause for worry and a serious threat to national security".

He said the distribution of Shortwave radio sets was not being done by people and organisations with noble intentions for the country but by those with ignoble motives, who had stepped out of their constitutional mandate and the police, will confiscate the radio sets. The ZRP, Matibiri said, was worried by the "unusual kind of generosity" of the people and organisations who were providing the radio sets.

He said the police are keen to establish the motive for the provision of the radio sets and how they had found their way in Zimbabwe and once that has been done the ZRP would want the NGO's deregistered.

Matibiri also said there had been a significant influx of NGO's in Zimbabwe, a development which he said "caused some serious security threat to the country".

The ZRP, Matibiri revealed had deployed "sufficient intelligence network" across the country to monitor the day to day activities of NGO's and some unidentified political parties whose operations he claimed were motivated by devious intentions.

The Deputy Commissioner-General said the police action in banning Studio 7 is justified under the Global Political Agreement which he claimed outlawed the radio station's broadcasts into Zimbabwe.

The police chief admitted that there had been differences between police officers and conveners of meetings in the interpretation of the provisions of the Public Order and Security Act and stressed that the regulatory authority should always be notified about the convening of meetings.

Matibiri told legislators that the ZRP had not yet secured credible evidence to establish the identities of the people who orchestrated the bombing of two MDC-T members, Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya in 2000.

The Deputy Commissioner-General also paraded the ZRP's 2013 Referendum Strategy which he said would guide police operations during the referendum and elections expected in the first half of the year.

Matibiri revealed that Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri had set up a steering committee headed by Senior Assistant Commissioner Muchemwa and will be deputized by Senior Assistant Commissioner Mazango, to ensure a "conducive" environment during the referendum and the elections.

The police chief also disclosed that the ZRP manpower currently stands at 40 000 regular police officers against an ideal manpower of 50 000. He said the ZRP will tap into its 40 000 strong police constable regiment to beef up their numbers to 50 000 in preparation for the referendum and elections scheduled for the first half of the year. During the referendum and the elections Matibiri said the ZRP will deploy five police officers at each of the 10 000 polling stations across the country.

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