Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) chairperson Peter Mutasa has told President Emmerson Mnangagwa to appreciate the work done by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe.
Mutasa was responding to Mnangagwa’s threats to expel NGOs for allegedly meddling in politics.
Mutasa, a former Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, pointed out that some of the country’s sectors were being kept alive by NGOs. He told NewZimbabwe.com:
Instead of seeing CSOs as enemies, the government must be thankful for the work that NGOs are playing.
NGOs are providing for medical care, education, food security, disaster management, social security and host of other important functions.
We are deeply concerned by that statement which clearly shows intentions of the government on the PVO Bill.
We are supposed to be enhancing democracy by making government accountable and proffering alternatives policies. the government is neglecting.
This statement, therefore, is a wake-up call for citizens.
It is a clear declaration of some marshal law of some sort. The president’s statement effectively shows that we are under a serious authoritarian regime where the constitution and constitutional freedoms and rights do not matter anymore.
Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Robert Mugabe, had a hostile stance towards NGOs.
The PVO Bill which requires NGOs to submit their plans and work to the government is interpreted by civil society leaders as being another attempt at stifling freedoms.
Last year, the government forced NGOs to register with provincial development coordinators (PDCs) and at one point announced the suspension of hundreds of them.
Mutasa said the judiciary, legislature, and other important organs of the state are compromised, therefore, CSOs remain the only sector that can check and balance the executive.