A woman walks past election posters in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 19, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo – RC191C773A60
…I will kick you out, says Mnangagwa
…I will protect you, says Chamisa
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s threats to kick out non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is reckless and likely to plunge Zimbabwe into further decay and humanitarian crisis, Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has said.
Chamisa’s warning during his final campaign in Epworth on Thursday ahead of tomorrow’s by-elections came after Mnangagwa on Wednesday told his party supporters that he will kick out NGOs he accused of dabbling in politics and pushing a regime change agenda.
Mnangagwa’s threats are in disregard of a stern warning that if his party allows the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill to pass as is, it could cost Zimbabwe close to US$800 million in development funding this year and will come with devastating social and economic consequences.
The report, titled Punching Holes To A Fragile Economy?, compiled by Prosper Chitambara, Clinton Musonza and Phillan Zamchiya, says the proposed law will have a far-reaching negative impact and implications not just for civil society organisations, but also for government development programmes and the poor who rely on aid for survival and access to critical social services.
According to the report, Zimbabwe risks losing out on over US$800 million in aid.
“NGOs that fail to stick to their mandate, I will push them out of the country, I will chase them out. We can do without them, we don’t need them,” Mnangagwa thundered during his rally in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza.
Mnangagwa’s regime has targeted mainly NGOs fighting to protect and promote human rights in Zimbabwe while accusing most of them engaged in humanitarian assistance of working with the opposition.
Chamisa on Thursday said Mnangagwa must leave NGOs alone and not threaten them for doing their work.
“NGOs must continue working and giving people food and aid. We will not act like what Mnangagwa is doing to threaten them. They are not in politics, let them help the people because you have failed,” Chamisa told his party supporters in Epworth.
The PVO Amendment Bill was gazetted in November 2021 and seeks to amend the PVO Act to impose new restrictions, but civil society organisations have warned the proposed amendments will constrain their work and violate human rights, while negatively affecting communities who depend on their activities.
Chamisa also blasted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), saying they should stop acting like an appendage of Zanu PF.
“Zec is not Zanu PF, it must be a commission for the people. They must play fair and do not be an extension of a party that is on its way out. We are watching you and, if you rig, we as the people have a right to call for you disbandment, we have that power,” Chamisa said.
Mnangagwa and Chamisa ended their campaigns on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, where they focused mainly on service delivery and promises to the electorate.
Mnangagwa centred his message on accusing the opposition councils of failing to provide potable water to cities while priding himself as a “saviour” who has brought the Presidential Borehole Drilling Scheme that he said will see thousands of boreholes drilled in cities and towns.
But Chamisa accused central government of running down local authorities and crippling them by appointing partisan officials who were aiding looting.
In Epworth, Mnangagwa promised thousands of settlers that he will issue them with title deeds but up to now, nothing has been provided, with the CCC leader dismissing the President’s words as hot air.
“I want to debunk Mnangagwa’s lies. He came and lied to you that he will issue title deeds to everyone. Title deeds is independence, there is no independence without land. In Epworth you know you were brought by land barons and duped but don’t worry, we will sort them out.”
“Don’t be lied to each time they come here seeking your votes. It is not the duty of the government to always promise, it is the duty of the government to deliver,” Chamisa said.
“You have 40 years in office, you cannot always be promising people now.”
Zimbabwe goes to by-elections this Saturday with observers saying the campaign messages by the two main political parties have exposed how broken and fragile Zimbabwe is as politicians were promising what are supposed to be basics in a normal country.
Chamisa also accused Mnangagwa of bussing people to his rallies and believing he has support while accusing the regime of abusing the police to harass opposition supporters and block their rallies.
Zanu PF hired over 70 buses for its St Mary’s rally on Wednesday.