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concerned with victimisation of civil society members
Mudzingwa, National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
in Zimbabwe (NANGO)
October 30, 2009
The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
(NANGO) expressed concern at the continued victimisation and harassment
of members of civil society by government in the context of the
statement on behalf of NANGO at a press conference held in Harare
on October 30 2009, NANGO Board Secretary Godwin Phiri said the
wanton arrests and victimisation of civil society members was a
sustained campaign against Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
with the aim of throwing spanners into their work.
is not only gravely concerned about these arrests, detentions and
interrogations but also believes that these developments cannot
be analysed in isolation. They have to be seen together with various
hate messages that have been published in the state-controlled media
warning NGOs not to be political", he said.
The press conference
was organised to appraise journalists of developments after the
arrest and detention of Dadirai Chikwengo, NANGO Board Chairperson
and Cephas Zinhumwe, the association's Chief Executive Officer.
- 24 October 2009, NANGO convened its annual NGO Directors'
Summer School . . . After the meeting, on 25 October 2009, NANGO
Board Chairperson, Dadirai Chikwengo, and Chief Executive Officer,
Cephas Zinhumwe, were arrested and detained by Victoria Falls Police.
They were charged under the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) for having convened a "'political
meeting'", explained Phiri.
The duo was
released on $100 bail each and will appear in court on November
reiterated that NGOs had "the right to a voice on policy developments
and decisions, the right to participate in political discourse,
the right to monitor and comment on the governance process as watchdogs,
and to speak up for and with the voiceless; the minorities and other
He said NANGO
was willing to partner government in genuine development issues
but would not encourage the victimisation of civil society members:
result of the wanton victimisation of civil society members and
organisations, civil society had no choice but to withdraw from
a stakeholders' colloquium scheduled by the Ministry of Justice
and Legal Affairs from 28 - 30 October 2009. In an environment
where the law is arbitrarily applied against NGOs it would be improper
to endorse the validity of such meetings through attendance,"
the board secretary said.
Phiri also castigated
government's decision to bar Manfred Nowack, UN Special Rapporteur
on Torture from conducting the first official mission to Zimbabwe
scheduled to take place from 28 October to 4 November 2009.
actions not only give the country a bad image, but they also retard
the shift towards the nation's democratisation and economic
recovery. These actions also lay bare the fragile nature of the
inclusive government," he observed.
He called upon
the SADC Troika visiting Zimbabwe to "assist in ensuring the
full implementation of the Global
Political Agreement and the protection of the people of Zimbabwe."
Phiri also urged
NGOs to remain united and to strengthen solidarity with regional
and international partners whom he thanked for steadfastly supporting
local civil society groups.
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