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Civil society consults on the new Government order to restrict NGO operations

Provincial Development Coordinator for Harare, Tafadzwa Muguti

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is consulting its members on a plan of action following threats by the government to further shrink the democratic space by setting up reporting structures for non-governmental organisations.

On June 30, 2021, the Provincial Development Coordinators for Harare and Masvingo respectively ordered that non-governmental organisations will be obliged to submit work plans, monthly reports, and details of workshops among a host of other demands.

In 2019, the same directive was issued to nongovernmental organisations in Masvingo.

The directive was however reversed following a High Court order.

According to Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella body of civic society organisations operating in Zimbabwe, the demands from the office of the Provincial Development Coordinator for Harare, Tafadzwa Muguti are meant to criminalise operations of nongovernmental organisations critical to the authoritarian nature of the Zimbabwean government.

Some civil society leaders in Masvingo declared that the same demands from the office of the PDC in the province must be resisted using all available channels.

Civic contacts in Manicaland argued that the clamping down on non-governmental organisations is meant to entrench dictatorship and we called upon pro-democracy forces to resist this.

In Bulawayo, a humanitarian lawyer said it is quite evident that the government is seeking to restrict and or cripple operations of non-governmental organisations ahead of the 2023 elections adding that the machinations should never be allowed to prevail.

Meanwhile, civil society leaders are consulting nationally with a view to come up with a common position.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende