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HARARE: Zimbabwe police vowed yesterday to pursue a crackdown on civic society organisations, saying some Western-backed groups posed a “serious security threat”.
Police have in recent weeks raided leading human and political rights non-governmental organisations in what activists say is calculated harassment ahead of a constitutional referendum due on March 16.
“Some of these NGOs really are going to pose a serious security threat to our country,” deputy police commissioner general Innocent Matibhiri 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,” he said.
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 had confiscated radios and communication equipment being distributed by NGOs 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.”
He said Western nations with a political agenda were behind the NGOs. AFP