NANGO irked by continued shrinkage of civic space

NANGO notes with great concern the continued arrests of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) officials and sternly condemns efforts to inhibit operations of civil society by Government.

The shrinking of civic space is exacerbating by day and this is against the expectations of citizens on the ‘Second Republic’ which projected itself as an inclusive, open, tolerant government that wants to distinguish itself from the past experiences.

Within a period of one week we have about seven CSO officials who got arrested at the Robert Mugabe International Airport. These include, Tatenda Mombeyarara, George Makoni, Nyasha Frank Mpahlo, Gamuchirai Mukura, Farirai Gumbonzvanda, Rita Nyamupinga, and Sitabile Dewa. The notion of arresting to investigate infringes on the rights of citizens, as there will be no recourse after.

The State, to a greater extent, has violated section 50 of the Constitution on the rights of arrested and detained persons. The treatment which some of these have been subjected to is inhumane. Further, confiscation of properties of arrested individuals is strongly condemned. The charge of subverting a constitutionally elected government is unjustified and unwarranted. This charge is now a fashionable justification of arresting CSOs whose critic is not palatable to Government.

NANGO calls on government, in particular the Security line Ministries, to desist from willy-nilly arresting of CSOs and targeting their officials. CSOs play a key role in contributing towards national development and have never waivered from this role. It is therefore, imperative to choose to dialogue rather than arrest officials where the Government may be ignorant on the work of NGOs. Government should not set barriers or intimidate institutions that aim to bring sustainable development to Zimbabwe.

NANGO is the officially recognised coordinating body of NGOs operating in Zimbabwe. It is the largest umbrella body for non-governmental organisations and was established in 1962. It is a non-partisan, non-profit making and non-denominational coordinating body of NGOs in Zimbabwe. NANGO is mandated by its membership to coordinate the activities of NGOs, represent the NGO sector and strengthen the voice of NGOs in Zimbabwe.

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