Cops raid youth group

BULAWAYO - Police have raided a youth civic society organisation on allegations the group is conducting illegal voter registration and keeping subversive material.

Four detectives from Bulawayo Central Police Station’s Law and Order section pounced on National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) premises in the city centre yesterday morning and turned the offices upside down. Officials said the cops combed the organisation’s manager Thandolwenkosi Sibindi and programmes officer, Alfred Ncube’s offices.

The detectives were armed with a search warrant.

According to the warrant, police suspected the group was in possession of voter registration certificates and “other material containing information which adversely affects the interest of the State”.

NYDT lawyer Lison Ncube from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said officers confiscated documents.

“They said my clients were conducting an illegal voter registration exercise and they went away with
reimbursements and registration forms from workshops usually conducted by the organisation, but they did not arrest anybody,” said Ncube.

The raid on NYDT comes two days after some members of the same organisation were arrested in Matabeleland North Province’s Lupane area for being in possession of voter registration receipts.

The receipts belonged to the group’s members who had registered to vote. Brilliant Goboza and Ray Ncube, who were arrested on Monday, are accused of contravening sections of the harsh Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act by “possessing articles for criminal use”.

Last month, Okay Machisa, the director of Zimbabwe Human Rights Association and chairperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition was arrested and appeared in court on allegations of conducting illegal voter registration and publishing false statements prejudicial to the State.

The escalating clampdown on human rights defenders has caught the world’s attention, resulting in the United Nations Office of the Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva slamming increasing repression of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe ahead of elections to be held later this year. - Pindai Dube

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