Police bar youth sports tournament in Zvimba

Zvimba police on Friday barred the Youth Agenda Trust (YAT) from hosting a Play Your Vote Sports Tournament. The sports event was scheduled for Vanad Mine in Zvimba North constituency on Saturday. The police said there were unspecified reasons why the event could not take place and revoked the clearance they had issued earlier.

YAT is involved in various outreach activities as part of their civic education program and these tournaments are specifically aimed at encouraging youths to shun violence and ‘positively participate in elections.’

A statement issued by the group said: “YAT condemns the action by the police to revoke a police clearance and this serves to confirm widespread fears that security agents in the country do not tolerate and appreciate the work the civil society organisations are doing in complementing government work.

YAT also views the latest stunt by security agents as a ploy to create an uneven playing field. For as long as civil society organisations are not allowed to conduct their work without hindrance, that election cannot be said to be free or fair. Realising the incapacities of the country’s electoral body (ZEC) we maintain that CSOs should be allowed to complement the body through civic education.

This is not the first attempt to block the youth group from carrying out their activities. On Thursday last week we reported that one of their sports tournaments was disrupted by a ZANU PF youth militia group in Mvurwi. The militia ordered the youths to leave the venue and YAT coordinator, Tonderai Samhu, was taken for questioning and threatened with death if he dared organize a similar event. – SW Radio Africa

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