WASHINGTON DC —
Police raided the offices of the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) in Bulawayo on Wednesday looking for what they said were illegal voter registration certificates.
Armed with a search warrant, the police from the Law and Order Section, said they were also looking for the organization’s program officer, Alfred Ncube.
They said their warrant also allowed them to search his house and office for the voter registration materials they charge contain information which can adversely affect the interests of the state.
The raid comes days after 40 NYDT members were arrested for possessing voter registration receipts. Two members - Brilliant Goboza and Ray Ncube – were kept in police custody only to be released Wednesday after prosecutors refused to press charges.
Liason Ncube, legal counsel with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told VOA the police action was flawed.
Liberty Bhebhe, director of the National Youth Development Trust, said the raid was meant to intimidate his organization, which is conducting a nationwide exercise, encouraging youths to register to vote in the country’s next elections.
Bhebhe said the raid by police was similar to arrest of the Zimbabwe Humans Rights Association director Okay Machisa, who is facing the same allegations.
After the raid, lawyers said police were unable to recover any materials, but instead took a schedule showing transport reimbursement for a voter registration workshop attended recently by memebrs of the organization.
Lawyers said the materials had nothing to do with the alleged voter certificates wanted under the police warrant.