Government warns local civic society organisations as Zimbabwe titters on the brink

Nick Mangwana

The government has strongly warned local civic society organisations that have “colluded with some foreign regime change agents to cause chaos in the country”.

The government’s warning comes after 27 people from some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) held a meeting yesterday (Friday,  11 January 2019) at number 10 Longden Road in Belvedere and agreed to use all dirty tactics and intimidation of citizens to coerce them to join a proposed shut down that is aimed at toppling the elected government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The meeting was held between 0900 hours and 1500 hours, by 27 people from various pressure groups and civil societies under the umbrella organisation Zimbabwe Civil Society Convergence (ZCSC).

The 27 people were drawn from #tajamuka, #occupyafricaunitysquare, #thisflag, ZCTU, General Consensus, Citizen Manifesto and Concerned Agenda.

Their agenda was not to better the lives of Zimbabweans as they claim but to turn the country into hell through a so called shut down scheduled for the 23rd to the 26th of January 2019.

The 27 member group agreed to take treasonous steps that include unseating the elected government of President Mnangagwa through threats to the general public, motorists, service stations and others with Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition coordinator Rashid Mahiya openly declaring the time is ripe for a national shut down to take place.

The meeting also agreed that ZCSC will use the name Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition to operationalise its activities and the secretariat has already made an application to some funders in Germany and the United States.

The government has, however, responded with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana saying the government will not fold hands and watch as people engage in such illegal and treasonous acts.

In a statement, Mr Mangwana said should such treasonous acts happen, “the state through the government of the day is mandated to step in with appropriate firmness, and on the strength of a mix of lawful instruments at its disposal to protect and restore law and order in the republic for the benefit of the ordinary citizen”.

Mr Mangwana notes, “it has become obvious that there is a deliberate plan to undermine and challenge the prevailing constitutional order born out of the 2018, July 30 harmonised elections which were democratic, free and fair and which were subsequently upheld by the highest court of the land. This brazenly unconstitutional plan which has sought financial support from some regime change organisations based in America and Germany among other countries represents a serious threat to our consolidating democracy, to the rule of law in our country and to the authority of government and state”.

The Information Ministry’s Permanent Secretary said while sections 58 and 59 of the country’s Constitution grant freedom of assembly and association and the right to demonstrate and petition, these rights do not sanction the subversion of the constitutional order and the rule of law.

“The Constitution also does not condone any activities designed and calculated to impede the rights of other citizens who are also entitled to a normal, safe, secure and productive daily life,” he said.

Evidence on the ground point to a foreign hand bent on aiding an illegal regime change and the government spokesperson notes, “the government will not hesitate to take action against such persons by withdrawing their visas, deporting them and declaring them persona non grata. Government thus wishes to make it known to all those conspiring to subvert peace, law and order in the country that it will respond appropriately. Both these unlawful meetings and treasonous liaisons with foreign organisations must stop forthwith”.

The government said it recognises the role and place of the opposition in politics but will not accept a situation where opposition comes disguised as NGOs to sponsor civil unrest and subvert the will of the people.

Government has also reminded trade union leaders that the cause of the worker can never be advanced through subversive political activities.

The latest shenanigans by some NGOs, pressure groups and civil society organisations have triggered questions as to whether the current challenges bedevilling the economy are not clear acts of sabotage.

Since President Mnangagwa clobbered MDC Alliance leader Advocate Nelson Chamisa by over 400 000 votes in the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections, his party has tried to use every trick in the book to change the will of the people.

The opposition politicians have also gone to bed with pressure groups, trade unions, pressure groups and some civic groups and NGOs planning to topple an elected government.

Source: ZBC

Read full statement here:

PRESS STATEMENT BY GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Over the past few weeks, Government has closely monitored activities of a coalition of non-governmental organisations in the country, especially in and around Harare. It has become obvious that there is deliberate plan to undermine and challenge the prevailing constitutional oreder born out of the 2018 July 30 Harmonised Elections which were democratic, free and fair, and which were which were subsequently upheld by the highest court of the land. This brazenly unconstitutional plan which has sought financial support from some regime change organisations based in America and Germany among other countries represents a serious threat to our consolidating democracy, to the rule of law in our country, and to the authority of Government and the State. Government is under no illusion as to the intentions and import of this plan which is being partly orchestrated by through the social media.

While Sections 58 and 59 of our Constitution grant freedom of assembly and association, and the right to demonstrate and petition, these rights do not sanction the subversion of the constitutional order and the rule of law. Furthermore, they do not condone any activities designed and calculated to impede or stop broad socio-economic activity in the country, including challenging the right and entitlement of the rest of the citizenry to a normal, lawful, safe, secure and productive daily life. Should that happen, the State, through the Government of the day, is mandated to step in with appropriate firmness, and on the strength of a mix of lawful instruments at its disposal, to protect and restore law and order in the Republic for the benefit of the ordinary citizenry. This is the more so when intelligence available to Government clearly point to a foreign hand bent on aiding and abetting such chaos. Government is aware of the involvement of non-citizens in the orchestration of this futile exercise. Government will not hesitate to take action against such persons by withdrawing their visas, deporting them and declaring them persona non grata. Government thus wishes to make it known to all those who have been conspiring to subvert peace, law and order in the country that it will respond appropriately. Both these unlawful meetings and treasonable liaisons with foreign organisations must stop forthwith.

In respect of political “NGOs” currently grouped as the so-called Zimbabwe Civil Society Convergence (ZCSC), and which have been meeting at the Crisis in Zimbabwe Offices and elsewhere, Government sternly warns them against overstepping their mandates, and against overplaying their hand. They were never registered to operate as a disguised political force in the country, or to be a substitute for the popular will of the Zimbabwean people by wielding the power to revise outcomes of the Harmonised Elections of July 30, let alone by abridging the tenure of that democratic outcome. Zimbabwe is an open system allowing for direct political competition in accordance with set rules and schedules. What Government will not allow or countenance is the pursuit of politics disguised as non-governmental work, or politics using NGOs as some Trojan horse. Equally, Government will not allow or tolerate the abuse of the social media and social media platforms in the name of freedom of, access to, information.

Government fully recognises the place and role of the Opposition in our body-politic. However, Government will not accept a situation where opposition parties disguise themselves as NGOs or as civic groups both to secure condonation for unlawful acts such as sponsoring civil unrest, and to avoid abiding by and submitting to given electoral outcomes which did not favour them. Rules of democracy and elections bid all actors to submit to ballot outcomes and, more importantly, to strictly follow and abide by the national electoral calendar.

Lastly, government wishes to remind trade union leaders that the cause of the worker can never be advanced through subversive political activities. Such an association is sure to ill-serve their well-meaning membership which expects and deserves a clean and honest leadership that avoids dabbling in opposition politics.

  1. Mangwana

Permanent Secretary

Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

13th January, 2019