Police crack down on city civil groups

POLICE yesterday raided the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) offices in Bulawayo, searching for alleged voter registration certificates and other documents “containing information that may adversely affect the interests of the State”.

Report by Silas Nkala

The raid coincided with the summoning of Bulawayo-based Habakkuk Trust chief executive officer Dumisani Nkomo to Plumtree for questioning by police over a meeting the non-governmental organisation (NGO) held in the area recently.

NYDT co-director Sindiso Mazibisa and lawyer Lison Ncube confirmed the raid at NYDT offices at the corner of 8th Avenue and Jason Moyo Street.

“Four police officers raided the offices armed with a search warrant,” Ncube said.

“They said they were looking for articles or material with information that may affect the State’s interests.”

He said police collected the organisation’s voter registration recruitment forms and transport reimbursement forms.

They also searched offices of two NYDT officials, Alfred Ncube and Thandolwenkosi Sibindi, but no arrests were made.

A search warrant issued by the officer commanding Bulawayo CID Law and Order,a J Mhandu, gleaned by NewsDay, read that there was reason to believe the organisation had “voters’ registration certificates and other material/documents containing information which adversely affects the interests of the State” at its offices.

The crackdown against the organisation began on Monday when police arrested over 40 of its members in Lupane who were carrying out voter education.

Two of the officials who had remained in custody were released yesterday after the courts refused to prosecute them, their lawyer Charles Moyo said.

Police charged Brilliant Goboza (22) and Ray Ncube (19) with “possession of articles for criminal use”.

The two were allegedly found with a number of receipts issued at the Registrar-General’s Office during voter registration.

Meanwhile, Nkomo told NewsDay that he was interrogated about an advocacy meeting Habakkuk held two weeks ago at St Theresa Catholic Conference Centre in Mangwe.

The meeting was convened to discuss challenges facing villagers in the district.

State media yesterday claimed the NGO encouraged villagers in the area to revolt against the local authority if their concerns were not addressed.

There are fears of a serious crackdown against civil society ahead of harmonised elections expected in June.

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  1. Phunyuka bemphethe

    The Gukurahundi police are always panicking why kanti? Really, if the truth were to be told who in Zim today is a threat against the State, nobody.

    Zimbabweans are the most peaceful people on the African continent and most of them are business and career oriented – they are not interested in fighting the state in any form.

    They just want peace and to be allowed to go about their daily lives uninterrupted. The Gukurahundi party is the problem not the people!

    1. The truth is that cowards die a hundred times before they actually die and the guilty are afraid.These police officers are being given wrong instructions resulting in them appearing stupid when they visit areas of search and find nothing.If the courts refuses to prosecute people it shows that there is no case against him or her which brings shame to those behind the arrests.

    2. The truth is these offices were raided because they are feared to be promoting voter reg in areas peceived to be mdc.
      Zpf s greatest fear are the new voters. The 2013 mission is ‘mission ambush’ ie Get as many ppl in zpf areas registering whilst stalling the process in all anti-zpf areas.
      I tell you if ppl in urban areas dnt register now they mght not get the time.
      Read the latest headlines؛
      -‘zpf claims to hv registered more than a million new voters.’
      -‘chihuri urges policemen to register.’
      -‘thousand of soldiers flock to register.’

  2. Thats the weakness with our state agents,they take it to far n in the process loose their credibility to the international community,we might be heading for another disputed election.

  3. John weku Mabvuku

    How does compiling a voter’s role become the jurisdiction of an NGO? What kind of Zimbos think its a police crackdown? Where in the world have yu heard/seen NGOs invoved in the production of election paraphenalia? Tavakupenga here?

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