ZANU PF employs dirty tactics.....

ZANU PF employs dirty tactics.....

As Masvingo Governor   bans   NGO activities

On Tuesday 14 February 2012, Masvingo governor and ZANU PF Senator for Chiredzi, Titus Maluleke banned operations of 29 Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the province including The Coalition's members, Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) and Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP). Justifying his decision, Maluleke accused the organisations of failing to register their operations with his office. However, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, speaking to The Coalition indicated that there is no law in the country which justifies the governor's actions. Reacting to the same ban, ROHR Spokesperson, Sten Zvorwadza said,

'ROHR is a bonafide, registered organisation and no one has the mandate to stop its activities. Operations and activities of the organisation in the country are legitimate. The Governor's utterances are baseless and misguided.'

This is not the first time that authorities have banned the operations of NGOs in the country. On the 4th of June 2008, NGO operations including those of humanitarian organisations were suspended countrywide for two months accusing them of supporting the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). This was despite the fact that more than 1,4 million Zimbabweans were dependent on food aid  that time.

The ban comes barely two months after ZANU PF passed a resolution at its December 2011, 12th Annual Congress in Bulawayo which called for the de- registration of NGOs responsible for pushing a 'regime change' agenda. Since the passing of the resolution pro- democracy actors have been subjected to intimidation and harassment by the political party's functionaries who include law enforcement agents. The arrests of the ROHR Spokesperson and continued persecution by prosecution of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activists including their national Coordinator, Jenni Williams and the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) programs officers, Molly Chimhande and Fadzai December are testament of the extent to which ZANU PF is determined to curtail the operations of NGOs.

ZANU PF has apportioned blame on NGOs for its weakening political power, accusing them of working to destabilise the country and to remove President Robert Mugabe from power. It is mind boggling how a 'nationalist' political party which claims to have Zimbabweans' interests at heart would ban organisations which work towards promoting the socio- economic and political rights of citizens. ZANU PF is evidently afraid of the critical role played by NGOs particularly in the democracy and governance sector and are bent on curtailing their operations.

It is apparent that ZANU PF does not have the welfare of its citizens at heart and is more determined to promote and protect individual interests at the expense of the interests of the majority of Zimbabweans. Instead of hindering NGO operations, ZANU PF should create an environment which allows for the operation of NGOs as a step towards realising a democratic state.

ZANU PF should be reminded that banning of NGOs operation will not curtail them from doing their good work of promoting and protecting socio- economic and political rights as well as playing the watchdog role. The Coalition therefore calls for the lifting of the ban forthwith and allow the NGOs to do their work without threats or unwarranted conditions.

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