Monday, January 22, 2007

Teachers flee; radios confiscated

A teacher who claimed to have fled the militias – notorious for harassing and torturing opposition supporters - yesterday told ZimOnline that the militias were conducting violent searches at teachers’ houses beating up teachers and confiscating all the donated short-wave radios.

“The situation is tense in Mash East. The youths and the police have teamed up and act on information provided by ZANU PF supporters in the district.

“People are being rounded up and given lecturers on the dangers of listening to the radios. Those suspected of being behind the distribution are also beaten up," said the teacher who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

At a meeting held in Marondera town last Tuesday, Mashonaland East governor Ray Kaukonde is said to have told state security agents and ZANU PF supporters to be vigilant saying the radios should not be allowed to circulate in the province.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Kaukonde confirmed that the government was confiscating the radios “in the national interest.”

“It is a peaceful exercise (confiscation of radios) in the national interest. Villagers need food not radios or harmful information," said Kaukonde.

“Those radios are propaganda tools so that villagers can listen to hostile stations such as Voice of America and turn against the government.

“The security agents are only confiscating the radios and carrying out awareness campaigns so that villagers can report anyone seen listening to the radios or distributing them,” he said.

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