22 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Statement By the MDC Youth Assembly On the Ban On Radios and Attack On Civic Society

press release

The MDC Youth Assembly condemns the blatant disregard of the country's laws by the police who have launched an onslaught on lawfully registered civic society members and the general public by confiscating their radios across the country. The police have no constitutional mandate to ban communication devices such as radios and there is need for creation of a legal framework in order to allow the police to do what they are doing.

Not only is the police breaking the laws of the country but also Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, which Zimbabwe is a signatory to.

Also of further concern to the Assembly, is the continued harassment and arrests of pro-democracy organisations and members such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), the Habakkuk Trust, and the raid on the home of the MDC Bulawayo provincial secretary, Hon. Reggie Moyo on Wednesday.

On violence and intimidation, the Assembly notes with serious concerns the terror campaigns on behalf of Zanu PF, being made by the self-styled war veteran, Jabulani Sibanda across the country.

Sibanda has redeployed known violence perpetrators of June 2008 who led a bloodbath, which saw over 500 MDC members murdered to carry out a terror campaign on behalf of Zanu PF. They are now carrying out their acts of violence with impunity as the police did not arrest them in 2008 and they remain scot-free. Sibanda is also using hate language in the newspapers and we wonder where and to whom Sibanda is reporting to.

Among the people spearheading the violence in the countryside are Bramwell Katsvairo, a senior official in the Air Force of Zimbabwe and Everisto Pfubvuti an Assistant Commissioner in the ZRP. Both are based in Mutoko where they are organising Zanu PF structures.

It is also worrisome that the violence is taking place when Zanu PF and its leader, Robert Mugabe have been preaching peace. It is a clear sign that Zanu PF is indicating left but turning right. Mugabe is showing that he has no willingness and power to stop this violence.

The above human rights violations by Zanu PF and some State actors show that Zimbabwe is far from having conducive conditions for free and fair elections as the political will by Zanu PF and Mugabe is not there. We urge Mugabe to walk the talk and stop the spread of political violence and intimidation of our parents, brothers and sisters.

As the Assembly, we are ready for free and fair elections but will not sit idle while our parents are being intimidated. We will continue to fight for the country to have free and democratic elections that will deliver real change and give the youth hope again through the creation of jobs, better health and education for all.

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