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Published: February 21, 2013
Cabinet Ministers from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, who include Minister of State, Jameson Timba, have rubbished police action this week which has seen law enforcement agents seizing radio receivers across the country.
A police spokeswoman issued a warning saying that it is against the law to possess what she called illegal communication devices and “specially designed radios.” She accused unnamed groups of distributing the devices to spread hate speech and political influence as the country heads towards elections. But Mr. Jameson Timba said the police action does not make sense.
“It is inconceivable that police can purportedly ban radio receivers. The only radios that require licensing before use are two-way radio communicators not receivers. This is paranoia,” he said.
He said he would defy the police order and would actually be distributing the radio receivers all the more:
“I will be distributing free radio receivers to all those who cherish democracy and the free flow of information every Friday until they is change in our beloved country,” he said.
The police warning came after several raids were carried out in February as the police seized hundreds of multi-band radios from an MDC-T MP, and smaller numbers of radios from non-governmental organizations.
Timba was joined by Home Affairs Co-Minister Theresa Makone who also said there was nothing illegal about people owning radio receivers. Mrs. Makone said that unless the devices in question are radio transmitters, not receivers, authorities should return the devices to their owners.
“Political parties and well-wishers are well within their rights to give radios to people who cannot afford them” she was quoted by VOA.
Zimbabwe’s IT and Communications minister, was quoted by SW Radio Africa calling the police action an ‘empty ban’ as he added: “It’s laughable, ridiculous and misconceived. There is no way you can put effective ban on the hearing of people. You cannot put an effective ban on the ability of people to talk.”
Chamisa said it is bizarre that it is being said by an institution that is supposed to observe the rule of law in the country. The minister said there is no government policy or any law that can be used by the police to enforce such a ban.
“It’s a poisonous development that would make the plebiscite environment very un-conducive.” Chamisa added.Tweet