CSOs make a difference

Civil society organisations and their SADC counterparts have changed the face of political and human rights in the region, says Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe spokesperson, Thabani Nyoni.

The CSOs were recently in Lilongwe, Malawi, lobbying for inclusion of the Zimbabwe disputed election outcome on the SADC agenda.

In spite of the CSOs forcing SADC to debate the Zimbabwe elections, SADC went on to endorse the election outcome.

“Our activities as CSOs have made a difference in social, political and human rights situations,” Nyoni said.

Analyst, Lawton Hikwa, said although CSOs were scoring some success in their endeavors, partisan positions soiled their objectives.

“Foreign funding and lack of a defined constituency to serve raises eyebrows among some sections of society who regard the agenda of the non-governmental organisations as ill-intended,” said Hikwa.

Zimbabwean CSOs started to manifest at the end of the 1990s, when the country entered into a political transition following the formation of the MDC. Life has not been easy for them as they were regarded by the state as allies of Zanu (PF)’s political rivals seeking regime change.

Hostility between the government and CSOs were partly attributed to suspicious foreign funding extended to NGOs by outside donors.

Despite the Lilongwe disappointment, Zimbabwe CSOs have vowed to step up their roles in society, lest gains achieved during the GNU are reversed.

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