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Zimbabwe Police Seize Radio Dialogue Studio Radios

FILE - Zimbabweans listen to a radio for an announcement of election results in Umguza, April, 2008.
Bulawayo police Friday raided the offices of Radio Dialogue, an unlicensed community radio station, and seized about 200 shortwave radio receivers before detaining editor Zenzele Ndebele.

Armed with a search warrant, Bulawayo Hillside Police confiscated the radios they allege were smuggled into the country.

Ndebele, who was released after being quizzed by the police, will be charged Saturday for allegedly breaching the Customs and Excise Act.

Radio Dialogue attorney, Kucaca Phulu, told VOA the police action was part of a wide move by police targeting the radio station and civil society.

Mr. Phulu said his client did not know how the radios were procured and police have no evidence Ndebele himself smuggled the radios into the country.
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The police crackdown follows a series of raids targeting a number of non-governmental organizations where radios, files, computers and other goods were also confiscated.

The police have been targeting independent groups that have been distributing shortwave radios claiming they are communication gadgets being used to destabilize the country ahead of crucial elections and the constitutional referendum.

Ironically, Home Affairs ministers last week said police should stop confiscating the radios with President Robert Mugabe being handed one such radio during this week’s heated cabinet meeting by Regional Integration Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, as a belated birthday present