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Riot police call-off Radio Dialogue ZITF roadshow
Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS)
April 29, 2012
Riot police in Bulawayo called-off a roadshow organised by Radio
Dialogue at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), on
the 28th of April 2012.
the roadshow, police cited that there was not enough space to enable
the holding of the activity, 4 hours after its commencement.
the police' assertion, there was evidence of expansive space
to accommodate more community members to participate in the roadshow.
Radio Dialogue has utilised the same space for the past five years,
and obtains clearances from the Bulawayo City Council to hold its
annual ZITF roadshows.
It is ZACRAS'
belief that, the increase in the systematic onslaught on Radio Dialogue
and its activities is a result of comments made by the Governor
and Resident Minister of Bulawayo and ZANU-PF Deputy Secretary for
Information and Publicity, Cain Mathema, during the ZANU-PF 12th
Annual National People's Conference held in December 2011.
delegates at the conference, Mathema labelled Radio Dialogue and
a number of non-governmental organisations as seeking to reverse
the gains of independence by preaching regime change.
In March 2012,
the Bulawayo Central Police District went on to decline Radio Dialogue
a clearance to hold a free-the airwaves procession. The procession
was part of proceedings for a community radio conference which was
held by the community radio, in partnership with ZACRAS and Bulawayo
Agenda on the 21st of March 2012.
ZACRAS is convinced
that the police in Bulawayo are seeking to frustrate Radio Dialogue
so as to derail the community radio from its mandate of serving
the community of Bulawayo, through promoting access to information
and participation in governance issues. It is disturbing that in
a bid to advance certain political interests, certain provisions
of the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) are wantonly used to deprive citizens
It is distressing
that the latest disturbance of Radio Dialogue's roadshow comes
a few days before the universal commemoration of the annual World
Press Freedom Day, on the 3rd of May. The Radio Dialogue incident
stands testimony to the deplorable state of Zimbabwe's media
operational environment, which deprives the media and citizens their
reiterates the need for the new Zimbabwe Constitution to explicitly
guarantee and protect citizens' right to freedom of association,
assembly, expression and access to information.
This should be bolstered by supporting legislation which recognises
and advances the enjoyment of these rights without unwarranted breach.
such as POSA vest too much power in the police, who end up infringing
on citizen's fundamental freedoms under the pretext of safeguarding
public order and safety.
Noting the developmental
purpose of community radios, ZACRAS calls upon various stakeholders,
amongst them the police force, to augment community radio operations
and not be a stumbling block in the advancement of community radio
The Radio Dialogue
2012 ZITF roadshow was organised in conjunction with churches and
civil society in Bulawayo, in a bid to promote peace building amongst
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