On October 22, 2020, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while delivering his State Of the Nation Address (SONA) threatened to shut down civic society organisations critical to the government in a clear indication the government is working to further shrink the democratic space.
President Mnangagwa highlighted that the Third Session of the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe will seek to tighten regulations guiding the operations of Non-Governmental Organisations through the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill.
As Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition, we take with great exception the threats from President Mnangagwa.
The move to tighten screws on civic society organisations operating in Zimbabwe is merely an attempt to silence dissenting voices and further entrench authoritarian rule while protecting the interests of individual politicians at the expense of the national interest.
In Zimbabwe, civic society organisations have been instrumental in exposing human rights abuses, corruption, electoral theft and other malpractices that are detrimental to the achievement of a democratic and economically developed state and it is disturbing that in response, the government has chosen to criminalise the work of civic society organisations.
Civic society organisations play an integral part in promoting good governance, transparency as well as holding the government to account and it is incumbent upon the Zimbabwean government to realise these fundamental roles.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition implores President Mnangagwa to exercise tolerance, show respect for divergent views and desist from abusing the law to silence dissent.