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  • NANGO condemns arrest of WOZA activists discussing at private home constitutional reform process
    National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe (NANGO)
    February 03, 2010

    The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), umbrella body of NGOs operating in Zimbabwe is deeply concerned about the - once more - growing intimidation campaign against NGOs. On 2 February 2010, 22 WOZA activists were arrested in a private home in Pumula were they were holding internal consultations of their structures on the constitutional reform process. NANGO strongly condemns their arrest. The fact that they were released without charges shows that they had no case to answer.

    The news about the arrest comes at a time when NANGO has received growing reports about an intimidation campaign against NGOs and was targeted itself: At the end of 2009 members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) leadership, staff members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) and the Chairlady and CEO of NANGO were arbitrarily arrested and later released.

    NANGO is concerned that these arbitrary arrests come at a time when the parliamentary led constitutional reform process starts its country-wide outreach-programme to receive the input by Zimbabweans for the New Constitution. Civic education, monitoring and evaluation are crucial during this process. Application of the repressive laws will impact negatively on the participation of Zimbabweans in the constitutional reform process. A people driven Constitution can only be achieved in an environment where before, during and after there is freedom of expression.

    NANGO therefore calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe to guarantee a conducive operating environment for NGOs. To this end, the government should condemn and issue public statements to the effect that freedom of information, assembly and speech have to be upheld and protected, and that intimidation against NGOs and Zimbabweans in general has to stop immediately. It is the right of every Zimbabwean to discuss and input into any national process without fear.

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