Zimbabwean Civil Society hit by inertia

via Zimbabwean Civil Society hit by inertia | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Zimbabwean civil society has diminished due to a combination of factors including a brain drain, reduction in funding and political manipulation and inertia, a prominent political researcher has said.

Charles Mangongera was speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Cutting Edge programme. This followed a special seminar organized by the University of KwaZulu Natal to discuss the role of civil society in the post Government of National Unity era.

Mangongera said civil society has over the years lost most of its best people to international organizations, something which has led to a leadership vacuum. He singled out Transparency International director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, and global director of programmes at the Open Society, Tawanda Mutasah.

According to Mangongera, the situation has been made worse by infiltration and manipulation of civic groups by the state, political parties and corrupt individuals. As a result civil society was no longer as coordinated and not vibrant enough to spearhead change in the country.

Mangongera said the opposition as a whole has ‘donated’ its role to ZANU PF and the party is using that to renew itself. This is apparent in the so-called anti-corruption crusade where the state media appears to be spearheading the crusade ahead of the opposition.

He said: ‘ZANU PF has created an opposition within itself because they can see that the opposition is in sixes and sevens. So they are trying to capture the national mood and pretend to be spearheading the fight against corruption by exposing some of their own people’s corruption.’
Mangongera’s comments come on the backdrop of the revelations in the state media of massive corruption in parastatals.

A fortnight ago, former finance minister and MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti decried the lack of ‘message’ from the opposition. Biti, who was addressing a seminar organized by the Southern African Political Economy Series Trust, said the opposition has ‘failed’ to capture the national mood. He said new civic leaders, of the calibre of the former Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, were needed.


  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 8 years ago

    Beware of leaders in the new money category, for they will enrich themselves first at the nation’s expense. Mugabe is a good example, he came in as a poor man but look at him now. The MDC must wake up. We need self made men of integrity to lead us into the future. People with vision and intellect.
    Zimbabweans ,I plead with you to really think about the future we needed to build for our children. The calibre of leadership we have now is cluelr and incapable leading us into a MODERN STATE.

    This is our lives we are dealing with. Let’s be serious.
    Pasi ne Zanu

  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 8 years ago

    Bankrupt of new ideas is the problem. Most peaceful approaches have been tried and yet the situation is unresolved. Nobody wants to conclude the obvious

  • comment-avatar
    Mixed Race 8 years ago

    It is a known fact that cruel governments kill their opponents by destroying all viable civil societies politically and financially.If you look at the heads of the Donor Organisations within our country they lack leadership qualities because their primary aim is to enrich themselves and their family members.Check any donor agent you will find that its -mwana wekhumusha-manning offices within Mat. as if there are no educated locals at Plumtree or Hwange.People with this shortsighted mentality cannot be called genuine civil society leaders because they divide the tribes.

  • comment-avatar
    just saying 8 years ago

    Perhaps this stems from a situation whereby civil society groups do not interact sufficiently with the general population. There should be a drive to establish cells throughout villages, towns & cities that will in turn feed into the umbrella body. This might well unearth potential leaders that can be groomed for higher office. Many citizens are disillusioned by the major political parties & feel that there is nowhere to express their concerns or opinions of what is happening or not happening in society.