BY NIZBERT MOYO
THE Zanu PF government has again threatened to ban non-governmental organisations (NGOs) deemed as failing to adhere to set regulations and pursuing a regime-change agenda.
In a statement yesterday, Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema, ordered all NGOs in the country to co-operate with government or risk deregistration.
“Let me state it again, all NGOs must work with the government or they should close their offices and each has to tell us who funds them and how they use their funds. If they do not work with the government, they are spy organisations. My ministry knows that its officers are human rights officers all the time during
the performance of their duties,” said
In December last year, government threatened to deregister civic society organisations accused of dabbling in opposition politics, reminding many of the dark
days of former President Robert Mugabe when human rights NGOs were labelled “enemies of the State”.
During Mugabe’s 37-year reign, government often deregistered some NGOs, accusing them of supporting the opposition MDC party, despite relying on them to
distribute food aid and maintain social services which his broke government could ill afford.
In April 2007, Mugabe deregistered all NGOs and ordered them to submit fresh applications as he sought to weed out “hostile” groups as the country prepared for
the 2008 general elections which he went on to lose, only to win in a re-run following a bloody campaign by his party aided by the military.
Five years later, his government suspended 29 NGOs in Masvingo, including Care International, citing registration irregularities.
Early this year, government revealed that it was tightening requirements for registration of NGOs to, ostensibly prevent money-laundering and funding of
terrorist activities by individuals and institutions.
In his statement, Mathema also castigated the MDC for defying a police ban on their Friday demonstration. He also castigated some civic rights NGOs and foreign agencies of aiding the opposition party.
“I disagree with the MDC Alliance where it wants a country with no political parties, but citizens who sit under a tree to choose a leader, they have to accept
that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the winner in the 2018 harmonised elections,’’ Mathema charged.
The minister declared that the police had been deployed heavily throughout the country to thwart all uprisings organised by the opposition.
The police have also banned today’s MDC protest in Bulawayo, citing manpower shortages, among other issues.