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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis


  • Now is the time for ALL to speak out boldly and unequivocally in condemnation of and opposition to this legislation
    David Coltart, MP
    September 06, 2004

    Bulawayo - On the eve of the Parliamentary Committee hearing on the NGO Bill it is apt, I believe, to remember the words of Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), the German theologian who opposed the Nazis: "When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church - and there was nobody left to be concerned."

    In the Zimbabwean context that should read:

    "When Mugabe attacked the people of Matabeleland between 1981 and 1987 I was not from there, therefore I was not concerned.

    And when Mugabe attacked the students in 1989 I was not a student, and therefore I was not concerned.

    And when Mugabe attacked Enock Dumbutshena in 1993 I was not a member of the Forum Party, therefore I was not concerned.

    And when Mugabe attacked the unions in the 1990s I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.

    And when Mugabe attacked white farmers and their workers between 2000 and
    2003 I was not either and therefore, I was not concerned.

    And when Mugabe attacked Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC between 1999 and 2004 I was not in the opposition and therefore I was not concerned.

    And when Mugabe attacked Archbishop Pius Ncube I was not a Catholic, and therefore I was concerned.

    Then Mugabe attacked me and the Protestant church - and there was nobody left to be concerned."

    The Church and many others in Zimbabwe have, to put it mildly, been largely pathetic in its opposition to tyranny. Some even as late as this year have given huge monetary donations to Mugabe. This inaction, at best, and active collaboration, at worst, has culminated in one of the worst attacks on the independence of the Church in the form of the NGO Bill. I hope that you will not be found wanting in your opposition to this appalling piece of legislation. Now is the time for ALL to speak out boldly and unequivocally in condemnation of and opposition to this legislation.

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