Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
 | 
Last updated 1 hour, 38 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
HOME LOCAL MIDEAST ASIA WORLD BUSINESS SPORT OPINION WRITERS
Zimbabwe intensifies clampdown ahead of polls
February 13, 2013
 Print    Send to Friend

HARARE: Rights groups on Tuesday said police in Zimbabwe have intensified a clampdown on civil society organisations and democracy campaigners ahead of a referendum on a new constitution and crucial elections to end the nation’s shaky coalition government dominated by President Robert Mugabe’s party.

Crisis in Zimbabwe, an alliance of rights groups, said police raided the offices of one of its member organisations on Monday and seized files on political violence, funding details, DVD display materials, mobile phones and other equipment.

Officials of the widely respected Zimbabwe Peace Project were accused of illegal importation of goods and “possessing articles for criminal use.”

No one was arrested. The officials deny any wrongdoing.

The search warrant for the peace project’s offices in suburban southern Harare said the detectives were looking for “subversive material, documents, gadgets, recordings and illegal immigrants.”

The police suspected the project had employed an immigrant staff member without a work permit and also smuggled unspecified goods into the country without paying customs duty, Crisis in Zimbabwe said.

Police said they would study the items they had seized.

Crisis in Zimbabwe said on Tuesday that Mugabe party hardliners and loyalists were still trying to scuttle democratic reforms by closing in on rights campaigners.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association director Okay Machisa was arrested on Jan. 14 on fraud and forgery charges involving possession of unauthorised election materials. Two other members of his staff were also detained on similar charges.

ZimRights, one of Zimbabwe’s main rights groups, routinely monitors political violence, intimidation and voting practices.

The Heal Zimbabwe Trust, a sister group, described the continued persecution of human rights defenders as “clearly meant to daunt and instill fear” in civil society activists despite proposed reforms in the new constitution that call for impartiality by police and security officials.

The clampdown on rights leaders “then raises concerns how safe ordinary citizens are in the face of upcoming elections,” the trust said.

The 160-page draft constitution is set to be put to the vote in a referendum as early as April, followed by presidential and parliament polls possibly three months later.

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe marks the fourth anniversary of the formation of the coalition between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009.

Associated Press
 

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments
 
Post a comment
 
Name:
Country:
City:
Email:
Comment:
 
    
    
Related Stories
Mugabe hits out at ‘vile’ Western critics
HARARE: Veteran Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe hit out at “vile” Western critics as he was sworn in for another five-year term on Thursday in a stadium packed with ju..
Mugabe rival withdraws vote challenge
HARARE: Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has withdrawn a legal challenge against last month’s disputed presidential election which extended rival Robert Mug..
Tsvangirai files court challenge against Mugabe
HARARE: Lawyers for Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s party filed a court appeal Friday against the outcome of the crunch election which gave veteran Presid..
300,000 turned away at Zimbabwe polls
HARARE: Nearly 305,000 Zimbabwean voters were turned away and 206,000 received assistance from election officials during last week’s disputed vote, organisers said on Thu..
Election victory a blow to Western foes, says Mugabe
HARARE: Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday declared his recent election victory a blow against Western powers which he accused of plotting to topple him usin..
 
FRONTPAGE
 
GALLERY
 
PANORAMA
 
TIME OUT
 
SPORT
 
 
Advertise | Copyright