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Zim NGO’s under spotlight as Chikomo’s trial kicks off
September 13, 2013
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on the Radio VOP website
of several Zimbabwean non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will
be under the spotlight when the trial of Abel Chikomo, the executive
director of the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum commences on Monday in the capital.
stand trial on charges of running an “unregistered”
organisation in what the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights described
as “yet another official harassment of civic organisations
and human rights defenders.”
trial was initially set to commence in August will appear in court
5 at Harare Magistrates Court building on Monday after prosecutors
served some of the State papers to the human rights campaigner’s
lawyer, Selby Hwacha.
claim that Chikomo contravened Section 6 (3) of the Private
Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Act Chapter 17:15 after he allegedly
conducted some activities without being registered with the Social
Welfare Department under the PVO Act.
came after the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a non-governmental
umbrella organisation conducted a survey on transitional justice
in Harare’s Highfield suburb.
charge that this was illegal since the organisation is not registered
as a PVO. They claim that Chikomo unlawfully instructed two of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum’s employees to commence or
carry out a survey in Harare’s Highfield suburb with the intention
to obtain people's recommendations on the preferred transitional
justice mechanism for Zimbabwe, without his organization registering
with the Social Welfare Department under the PVO Act.
Over the past
two years Chikomo has been interrogated and asked to report to the
police station on several occasions on the activities carried out
by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
harassment of Chikomo is the latest attack on NGOs by President
Robert Mugabe’s administration as it steps up efforts to silence
since 2010 been hounding Chikomo by raiding his offices, summoning
him to their offices and pulling down his organisation’s billboards
which call for the government to ratify the Convention Against Torture
and to outlaw torture.
Early this year, former Masvingo Provincial Governor Titus Maluleke
banned 29 NGO’s from operating in his province after accusing
them of not registering their operations with his office and the
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. But the NGOs dismissed the
ban as a nullity as Maluleke had no mandate to police them.
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