Radio Dialogue editor in court

HARARE - Radio Dialogue editor Zenzele Ndebele has been summoned to appear in court today over the possession of radio sets that were confiscated from his workplace after a police raid.

Police on Saturday called in Ndebele for questioning.

Ndebele, who is represented by Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers Jonathan Tsvangirai and Kucaca Phulu was initially accused of being found in possession of smuggled goods in Contravention of Section 182 of the Customs and Excise Act but a further charge of possession of a radio receiver without a valid Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) licence in Contravention of section 38 of the Broadcasting Services Act, has been added.

Ndebele was interrogated by the police over the possession of 180 radio sets which the police allegedly seized from Radio Dialogue offices in Bulawayo, before being released into the custody of his lawyers.

Ndebele’s arrest comes after police have launched a crackdown confiscating radios.

These shortwave radio stations have become a hit in most areas around the country because of ZBC’s poor transmission and the shying away from rabid propaganda broadcast on State-owned stations.

In a sign of how State agents are girding for an election likely to be the hardest-fought since independence in 1980, police banned the radios at a time they are also intensifying a crackdown on civil society groups, whose leaders they have arrested on several occasions since New Year. - Tendai Kamhungirai

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