SW Radio Africa (London)

25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Armed Police Swoop On Home of MDC-T Chair for Midlands

Heavily armed police on Thursday raided the Zvishavane home of the MDC-T chairperson for Midlands South province, Lilian Timveos looking for 'smuggled goods'.

Timveos confirmed to SW Radio Africa that police officers brandishing AK47 rifles swooped on her house armed with a search warrant while she was out of the house. She said her husband and children were present when they searched the house, room by room, a situation they described as 'terrifying'.

While the search warrant indicated the police were looking for 'smuggled goods' Timveos suspects the officers who conducted the raid used it as a decoy to look for literature information related to her party activities. Timveos explained that the police went away empty handed.

Her suspicions have been buttressed by the fact that after the police left her home, another team of officers was dispatched to search the MDC-T provincial offices in Gweru. This time, the police said they were looking for laptops and radios.

Timveos, a respected businesswoman and the only female chairperson to lead a political province in Zimbabwe, said Friday that she's at a loss as to why the police units searched her house and provincial offices.

"First of all, I don't know what smuggled goods look like and I certainly don't know if owning a laptop or a radio has now become a criminal offence in Zimbabwe," Timveos said.

The senior MDC-T official said she and her family are still stunned by Thursday's massive flurry of police activity in her house and at the party's provincial offices.

"What I faced yesterday (Thursday) has come as a total shock to me. It was totally unexpected, and I can affirm to you that this is not a pleasant situation. Regardless of the reasons for this police operation, they have our full co-operation," she said.

SW Radio Africa correspondent in Bulawayo Lionel Saungweme reported that if the police were looking for smuggled goods, it wasn't their duty to search the house. Instead that would be a job for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

"The assumption in MDC-T circles here is that the police were looking for laptops to forward them to the Central Intelligence Organisation where they would be forensically interrogated to get vital information on the party as elections loom," Saungweme said.

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