Govt of Zimbabwe intensifies move to thwart operations of CSO

In a bid to close space for NGOs in Masvingo District the Masvingo District Administrator Mr Hove suspended the operations of Community Tolerance Reconciliation And Development (COTRAD) a youth-oriented NGO based in Masvingo. The suspension is on allegations that COTRAD failed to meet registration requirements and were engaging in political activities.

This crackdown has left thousands of beneficiaries without services which were provided by COTRAD.  COTRAD has been capacitating youth with skills to monitor and hold duty bearers accountable as well as facilitating youth and women-friendly platforms where leaders are held accountable. This suspension follows proclamations by the president of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa on 16 February 2019 during a ZANU PF Thank You Rally held in Mwenezi District that government was going to discern upon CSOs perceived to have participated in the 14 January 2019 ZCTU mass stays which were due to the 150% fuel increase.

This crackdown on NGOs is a move reminiscent of the run-up to the 2008 elections period when the by then Masvingo Governor Titus Maluleke February 15, 2012, read the riot act to NGOs operating in the province by indefinitely suspending 29 of them from conducting operations. It is now a trend that whenever the ZANU PF government is faced by public outcry it resorts to cracking the whip on NGOs for helping citizens demand what is rightfully theirs.

It is clear that government is not opening up for democracy as the new dispensation mantra continues to fed. Government must be strongly reminded that citizens have a right to demand transparency and accountability at all levels from all public officials including traditional leaders, elected officials and government officials. Attached is the suspension letter.

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