Ndaka Majaka and Leroy Dzenga
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) against meddling in Zimbabwe’s politics saying they should stick to their mandate.
Speaking at the official launch of the Anti-Corruption Awareness Campaign, in Harare on Wednesday, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s observance of the rule of law was not meant to appease other countries.
“May I urge civil society to restrict themselves to their mandate. Rule of law observance is not intended for the purpose of pleasing other countries but ourselves,” the President said.
His remarks followed utterances by the European Union (EU) envoy for Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, questioning Zimbabwe’s ban of countrywide protests by the main opposition, the MDC.
“Recent actions have put the country’s commitment to the rule of law in question. Zimbabwe needs to show that it has made a break from the past,” the EU ambassador said.
There have been allegations of foreign envoys and NGOs meddling in local politics and playing active roles in strategising for certain political parties.
In late 2018, then acting Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister, Kazembe Kazembe, read the riot act at a Cabinet briefing, saying the State was worried with how “some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were dabbling in politics.”
Lately, there have been several arrests of civil society actors who are accused of receiving training in foreign lands to organise demonstrations.
Zimbabwe had a love-hate relationship with CSOs during former president Robert Mugabe’s 37 years in power, and he frequently clashed with civil society actors accusing them of supporting the opposition MDC party.
Meanwhile, the President officially launched the country’s Anti-Corruption Awareness Campaign, stressing that his administration is committed to fighting corruption at all levels.