Civil society threat to Zimbabwe - cops

2013-02-25 17:38

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Zimbabwe says to clear $1.86bn arrears by next April
Zimbabwe says to clear $1.86bn arrears by next April

Zimbabwe will clear arrears of $1.86bn to international creditors such as the IMF by the end of next April, the finance minister says, a major step towards unlocking new funding.

Harare - Zimbabwe police on Monday vowed to continue cracking down on civic society organisations saying some of them posed a "serious security threat".

Police have in recent weeks raided offices of leading human and political rights non-governmental organisations in what activists said is a calculated move to harass them ahead of the constitutional referendum due on 16 March.

"Some of these NGOs really are going to pose a serious security threat to our country," Innocent Matibhiri, deputy police commissioner general told a parliament committee on defence and home affairs.

"We have already deployed sufficient intelligence network through the country to monitor everyone, political parties and NGOs included."

Last week police forcibly entered the offices of a local poll observer group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) by breaking part of the perimeter wall and confiscated documents.

Matibhiri said police have been confiscating radios and communication gadgets being distributed by some NGOs across the country in rural areas.

"People are just distributing them [radios] but they are not telling where the gadgets came from and how they got into the country," he said.

"Under such an environment we can only suspect that whoever is doing that has some intentions that are not good for the country, and until we get satisfactory answers... we will continue to confiscate those gadgets."

Western agenda

He said Western nations with a political agenda were behind the NGOs.

"Ninety-nine percent of the NGOs are Western-sponsored, you can only deduce the intentions."

"We know the history of our country, who we have been fighting with and who our friends have been," he told the parliamentarians.

"This is why we are saying the NGOs are definitely under a spotlight... we are very clear minded as to the intentions of most of the NGOs."

Zimbabwe votes next month on a new constitution drafted by the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and his arch-rival Tsvangirai.

The referendum will be followed by elections expected later in the year.

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