Police radio ban illegal: Lawyers

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ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) yesterday said the seizure of communication gadgets such as radios by police is illegal as it breaches people’s right to freedom of expression and access to information.

REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA

In a statement, ZLHR said Section 20 (i) of the Constitution provides for every Zimbabwean to receive and impart information without any hindrance and the use of common technology such as radio, television or mobile phone is protected by law.

“The utterances by the police are patently illegal,” ZLHR said.

“This so-called ban has no basis in law.

“The lengths to which State institutions and actors are now going to deny fundamental rights and freedoms and act outside the law is alarming and typical of paranoid State authorities who are contemptuous of any diversity of opinion and information.”

The lawyers said what was more disturbing was that the police, mandated under Section 18(1) to uphold the Constitution, were the ones carrying out the raids.

Police on Monday announced a ban on “specially designed radios” that are “not compatible with State-owned stations”, claiming the devices would be used to communicate hate speech ahead of polls. They threatened to crack down on people found with the radios and organisations providing them.

Meanwhile, the two MDCs in the inclusive government have threatened to take up the issue of intimidation and harassment of civic society organisations by the police to the Southern African Development Community saying the issue was getting out of hand.

The MDCs view the police move as a Zanu PF strategy to silence critical voices perceived to be anti-Zanu PF ahead of elections expected in July.

“Zimbabwe is not a police State and should not be a police State,” Jameson Timba, MDC-T secretary for external affairs said yesterday.

“Civil society must be left to conduct their businesses freely. Any perceived harassment of civic society further damages the image of this country and it is in no one’s interest.”

MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said: “This is clearly to intimidate people working in areas that concern elections.

“We are definitely going to engage the international community on the harassment of civic society if the onslaught persists.”

46 COMMENTS

  1. i think the next step will see police demanding we pull down our satellite dishes so that we do not have access to foreign news stations. almost every house at police camps has one!! this will be interesting!

    • Manqoba Mamamela, you need to stop understanding issues from a limited angle.

      You & the so called human rights lawyers obviously only just see the part where Police confiscate equipment but fail to fully analyse the laws they used to do what they did & how exactly these radios & the people behind them breached Zimbabwean laws.

      For your information, the people behind all the satellite dishes you see in Zimbabwe are actually regulated by way of licences to operate within Zimbabwe.

      They did not just turn up & start giving out satellite dishes to people without permission.

      That is how shallow your thinking is. You have to fully understand Zimbabwean media & telecommunications laws & how they apply before making your misinformed comments.

      Also take a look at other countries’ laws & compare with your own country to appreciate & understand the police action.

      You obviously have internet, use it to look up similar stories in other countries. especially the so called developed countries & you will be surprised that ZRP has not broken any laws.

      Or you can simply go & try setting up your own ILLEGAL radio station in ANY of these developed countries & lets see how far you will get with that

  2. Freedom of expression inowanikwa kudenga kwete pano pasi, ask phunyuka Mbonisi Devolution will tell u. Period!!!

    • I think you are talking shit Chapisa though you seem to know the law better in some instances but missing the point completely.If i may ask you one question:When these guys confiscating these so called illegal radios and ordering people to pull down their satellite dishes were they not aware of the fact that these were regulated by way of licences to operate in Zimbabwe?In 2008 they ordered people to pull down satellite dishes so Manqoba has just brought to the fore that they may as well start ordering satellite dishes to be pulled down since its a communication device though regulated as you allege but dangerous during elections ONLY.kikikikikikiki What a load of rubbish Chapisa.

      • You “think” im talking shit?
        Well thats enough for me.
        When you know what you’re talking about rather than “think”, let me know.

  3. Tsvangirayi not ready to rule guys,Masvingo and Harare are the only two provinces left with total MDC T strongholds, Manicaland is gone…stupid Biti’s faction has divided the province thru Pishayi and Prosper….Zanu is preparing to sweep to victory guys……

      • You can call them abnormal people but what you forget is that what counts are the numbers.

        You will continue to insult people but that will not stop them from casting a vote for ZanuPF.

        Look at the stats so far, every prediction, poll or survey has showed who will win & lose & only deluded MDC “normal” people continue to lie to themselves that they will win.

        How can they win when the party failed to win during the hardest times in Zimbabwe with half of Zimbabwe behind them?

        Things have changed so much that you have to be living in the past to expect the same results.

        It is absolutely madness to expect an MDC win when so much has been exposed about how useless, corrupt, weak & clueless they are. Wake up!

          • I have no time or motive to argue about that. Lets keep our views about that for election day or rather the results. Some arguments which i know a lot of you MDC people love engaging in are pointless. I dont know, maybe you think i will change my mind after reading your comments. Zviroto itai zvishoma

        • Of course they wont stop casting their votes for the Gukurahundis, but that does not change the fact that they are not normal, does it?

          All I am doing is stating a fact.

          • Ok Phunyukabemphethe i get you but my point is not about
            how normal or abnormal they may be, what counts is the number chete. Im talking of “what is important”.

        • In countries it is the illegal radio station which is forced to close, not the person listening to it. Chapisa you try and talk the law and make yourself sound like an intellectual in the hope no one will call your bluff. just full of hot air you are, oh and pretty thick

  4. As usual we have these so called lawyers talking through their behinds.

    Can they tell us how the police action is illegal & breaches people’s right to freedom of expression & breaches people’s right of access to information when that freedom of expression & access to information is regulated under Zimbabwean laws?

    There are laws in every country which govern how freedom of expression & access to information is governed.

    If the expression is to be transmitted via radios, or other devices of any sort, then that expression falls under media & telecommunication laws.

    Even Walkie-Talkies in any country are regulated, in other words, they can only transmit on certain regulated channels.

    Same thing with access to information which is also regulated under various laws which include but not limited to censorship.

    In other words, the information & how that information can be accessed is also regulated in ANY country.

    I live in England & i know that unregistered radio stations broadcasting within or to the UK are regularly hunted down & shut down with arrests & court appearances.

    All sovereign countries have regulated airwaves.

    You have to be registered & permitted by law to transmit radio signals.

    You do not just set up a transmitter somewhere & transmit to or within a country, any country.

    Iam also yet to hear of NGO’s engaged in UK politics with the specific hidden task of removing the sitting government.

    There is actually a word for that. Spying.

    In the case of NGO’s & the conspiring Jestina & her crew, they actually smuggled in & supplied custom made radios which could receive their transmissions outside the jurisdiction of Zimbabwean laws, which in itself is a clear breach of the country’s telecommunications & media laws.

    Not only is illegal transmission a breach of Zimbabwean laws & a threat to security but a very clear & present danger to other equipment which use radio signals like aircraft & medical equipment.

    That is what these people & some misguided Zimbabweans here seem to be so ignorant about.

    Every country has media & telecommunications laws where abiding companies pay a lot of money to be regulated & in principle, also need to be protected from ILLEGAL radio stations or organisations who see themselves as above the law.
    Batai vanhu!

    • Chapisa is another Nathaniel Manheru who writes long stories.Next time be short and sharp like Phunyukambemphete other that wasting your precious time preaching Zanu pf gospel which has no space in modern day Zimbabwe.

    • YOU live in England, how can you after all the Mabritish have done to our beloved Zimbabwe, the Mabritish have no Water, No Power, the country is a complete basket case where nothing works,potholes everywhere the list is endless,come back to Zimbabwe and enjoy, Why run away? Are you living a better life there?

  5. this zanu police yaakurebesa muswe,this is going out of hand,now once i see a police officer it means iv seen zanu pf member,period!!

    • You have an overgrown ego. Zimbabwe will definitely not suffer when you start seeing the effects of whatever you smoke.

  6. The problem with people is that, they think anyone with the title of lawyer knows ALL laws.

    These monkeys making noise are Human Rights Lawyers.

    Anyone who has been to school will tell you that Human Rights Lawyers barely know anything about media laws hence you hear these Human Rights Lawyers referring to freedom of expression laws without considering how they should interact with other laws -in this case, telecommunications & media laws.

    The laws they are barking about are limited just like all other laws are limited in any part of the world.

    People may have the right to freedom of expression & access to information but it does not mean they can willingly try & access information which is controlled or attempt to transmit information (controlled or not) without the right permissions or licences from authorities.

    If the radio station & the equipment did not have a licence to operate in Zimbabwe then surely & clearly, laws were broken.

    But these lawyers want to tell us certain NGO’s have a right to operate outside Zimbabwean laws? This is absolutely nonsense.

    Why dont they try & set up illegal radio stations overseas & see for themselves what will happen?

    • CHAPISA, your problrm is that somehow you think if Gukurahundis win the coming elections they will somehow govern any differently from the way they have carried on so far, such that you may be able to go back to Zim and flourish.

      You are wasting your time mfan’ekhaya. With the discovery of diamonds, and the gradual deterioration of Gukurahundi Mugabe owing to age, things will simply continue falling to pieces should they come back to power, as it will be a free for all. Remember what happened in Malawi with Banda in his twilight years.

      Those thieves will defend Mugabe to the hilt, and ensure he continues in power because they know that under him they will continue stealing with no consequences, as he would have lost the grip on what would be going on around the country.

      In the process, the country will continue to fall into pieces, while you and me continue to suffer.

      Whilst you may return from the UK for a while under the mistaken belief things are about to improve – forget it, you will soon be on your way back with your tail in between your legs – mark my words!!

      • Phunyukabemphethe, Please stick to the subject my friend.

        Name calling & making unfounded predictions is useless material.

        You have said absolutely nothing apart from trying to insult me, a trend we are so familiar with some of you.

        You are not talking to a teen.
        If that is the level of your thoughts then be reminded that they are simply empty insults with no substance.

        Okay? Thank you now sit down.

        • I am giving you a closing summary because I believe its time we agreed to disagree, instead of carrying on and on with no end in sight. I am not debating the issues you raises specifically!!

    • I wonder where you live Machipisa! Where u in zimbabwe during the 2008 elections? When innocent citizens succumbed to zanu pf biting and killing and madness? Im talking from experience. I saw with my own eyes combis stopped and everybody commanded to jump out and asked to chant a zanu pf slogan before going in..failure of which u would be bitten to death. I pity you young man if u support such barbarism..brother killing own brother in the name of power and u tell me u support that? Aaaaaaah ndanyara fani. I jus told u a few examples..i cant tell u about those who had their limbs cut… i saw it with my own eyes…Africa we will never develop…instead of preaching and practising peace..we kill for power! Its a shame. Zimbabwe has cursed leaders.

  7. Is ths e same Jestina who was acquitted by the supreme court Sme time ago.I assure Bhobho that he won’t have my vote,my family’s votes come election time

  8. CHAPISA, your problrm is that somehow you think if Gukurahundis win the coming elections they will somehow govern any differently from the way they have carried on so far, such that you may be able to go back to Zim and flourish.

    You are wasting your time mfan’ekhaya. With the discovery of diamonds, and the gradual deterioration of Gukurahundi Mugabe owing to age, things will simply continue falling to pieces should they come back to power, as it will be a free for all. Remember what happened in Malawi with Banda in his twilight years.

    Those thieves will defend Mugabe to the hilt, and ensure he continues in power because they know that under him they will continue stealing with no consequences, as he would have lost the grip on what would be going on around the country.

    In the process, the country will continue to fall into pieces, while you and me continue to suffer.

    Whilst you may return from the UK for a while under the mistaken belief things are about to improve – forget it, you will soon be on your way back with your tail in between your legs – mark my words!!

  9. Kureasona nhema @Chatonhora. Iwe wakagara muenland urikutsvakei ikoko Handiti wakatiza ZBC?? Waunoda kuti aswerere kuudzwa zve birthday from morning to mid night ndiyani? Usamama kutaura!

    • people power hehehe ndirikuchokoro shamwari. Lets stick to the subject.

      People who have nothing sensible to say usually attack the person telling them the painful truth.

      It is more than clear you have nothing to say in objection to the simple facts i laid out above.

      • What are you doing in lmperialists land?Dont we hv universities back @ home?

        History has got a tendency of repeating itself.This is exactly the tactic which Smith used before independence and Bob perfected it with immaculate precision and the bigger picture is not about the breaking the laws but clearly shows that the populace is fed up with our own Dead B C.There is nothing wrong when people listen to what they want to listen to.Its unfotunate that you seem to be a born free,we used to listen to those radios under the cover of darkness and that is exactly what the authorities are driving people to do.The crackdown wont deter people from getting those gagdets and actually strengthens their resolve to get rid of this monster called Zpf

  10. I think as Africans democracy and education was imposed on us, we don’t see the need for such things. We just need to go back in the bush and re-invent our future. Elections and human rights were imposed on us and their need in our lives is not great. We talk of having so many degrees but we fail to produce everything, even Chinese saw our stupidity and as a Capitalistic force they are invading us! And we are busy taking sides, ‘Hee America this, hee sovereign Brother of the East this’ We beat each other while Americans and Chinese feast on our wealth. We are stupid! No Nationalists left, just thieves in black masks! Who in our present government will go an die for Zim in a war? Obert Mpofu? Tendai Biti? David Coltart? My friends we have replaced a white enemy and elected one from our own household! Rubbish politics!

  11. Given the efforts of the main political parties on the ground today and if Zimbabwe was a normal country with normal politics – no tribalism, no hero worshipping etc – the coming elections would produce the following results:

    Presidential elections:

    Morgan Tswangirayi – 65%

    Welshman Ncube – 25%

    Simba Makoni – 8.5%

    Robert Gukurahundi Mugabe – 1.5%

    The parliamentary elections results would reflect the same pattern. Unfortunately, ours is an abnormal society where an 89-year old runs neck-and-neck with +50-year olds.

    WHAT A DISASTER OF A NATION – SO MUCH PROMISE, NEVER TO BE REALISED!!!

      • No they are not realistic; and its because of S.h.ona tribalism. As I said, they can only be realistic in a civilised environment. That would automatically consign the Zanu PF Gukurahundis to their proper position, given their disastrous rule. But because of tribalism, they continue being almost neck and neck withthe MDCs. You are excited only because they suit you as a Tswangirayi supporter.Thats the problem with people who do not reason!!!!!!

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