By Godfrey Olukya 1-3-2013
Following the ban by the government of Zimbabwe on supplying free radios by Non government organizations to civilians, Zimbabweans have protested against the seizure of their radios by police.
One of the people whose radio was confiscated by police, Severino Mbuute said, ‘It is unfair for the government to stop organizations to supply free radios to poor Zimbabweans. First of all, most of us can
not afford buying the radios yet we have a right to information.’
Authorities in Zimbabwe recently started confiscating hand-cranked and solar-powered radios mostly distributed by non-governmental organizations.
Last Monday, the police deputy commissioner, Innocent Matibiri reportedly told a parliamentary committee that any individuals involved in the distribution of the radios would be arrested.
Police recently told the press that it had confiscated specially designed radios from the offices of an NGO called the Zimbabwe Peace Project. It accused the organization of possessing gadgets that it is using to promote hate speech against certain political parties.
Analysts believe that the action is meant to prevent local citizens from accessing diverse sources of information in the run-up to the country’s general elections in July, 2013.
Several local and international organizations including International journalism protection body, Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ have condemned the act calling it draconian.
Lawyers from Zimbabwe Human Rights association have called the ban illegal and said the confiscation of radios from the public violates the right to receive and impart information as guaranteed under the
Zimbabwe’s president, although over 80 yrs old has shown interest to stand again in the forthcoming elections. He has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron hand for over 25 years