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Operating space for civil society in Zimbabwe shrinking ahead of
for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ)
February 12, 2013
The space for
civil society organizations is continuously shrinking in most rural
areas ahead of the referendum and elections. The Centre for Community
Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) is facing challenges mainly from
partisan police and bureaucrats at district and provincial levels
who are disrupting planned activities.
(District Administrators, Provincial Administrators and Governors)
are denying civil society organizations operating space in Mashonaland
and Masvingo provinces. It is difficult to convene civic education
meetings as programme officers are told to seek clearance from police,
DA, PA and the governor's office. The governors are demanding
that organizations produce Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and
all the material to be issued out at meetings as well as presentations
before the meetings are cleared.
In Wedza in
Mashonaland East province, CCDZ was told that the governor, Aeneas
Chigwedere that ZANU-PF has to endorse all the meetings that are
held in the province.In Mazoe, CCDZ failed to hold a meeting with
traditional leaders. Chief Negomo argued that NGOs are fronts of
the MDC-T that are being supported by the West "to divide our
people". In Bikita East in Masvingo province, the DISPOL for
the area Assistant Inspector Mubaiwa dismissed the CCDZ officials
arguing that "it's the rain season and you are disturbing
our farmers." Inspector Mubaiwa added: "We could have
allowed you if you are distributing maize or if you want to talk
about indigenization and economic empowerment not civic education".
He denied CCDZ clearance arguing that the organization did not have
a MOU with Masvingo Governor Titus Maluleke.
village in Karoi people complained that they are forced to chant
slogans at Village Development Committee meetings. In Kwekwe, CCDZ
meeting at Mbizo Youth Centre was disrupted by Al-Shabab, a shadowy
ZANU-PF -aligned terror group. The Al-Shabab occupied the
venue of the meeting and told about 70 participants to go home and
not attend any meetings called by NGOs.
The CCDZ director,
Philip Pasirayi said that what is happening is not different from
what human rights and governance NGOs experienced in previous elections.He
said: "Attacks directed at NGOs have increased in the past
few weeks. This is part of a strategy to muzzle NGOs and make sure
that people only have access to partisan information. We have seen
it previous elections that NGOs become the targets for intimidation
the reason why as civil society we are saying it is wrong to go
for the next elections without reforming these partisan and abusive
State institutions including security sector reform. We demand a
professional army and police and an independent electoral management
body to replace the current partisan one. This is the only way the
next elections will bring about a legitimate and uncontested government",
Below are some
of the violations recorded in the period January-February 2013:
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for Community Development fact
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