Crisis Coalition Concerned Over the Continued Clampdown on Civil Society Actors

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition notes with concern the latest unfounded and misleading claims by the government mouthpiece [The Herald] that some foreign embassies are training civil society activists to engage in anti-government protests. The story appeared in the Herald of 9 December 2021.

These false accusations are meant to justify the Government of Zimbabwe’s continued clampdown on civil society actors, human rights defenders and ordinary citizens who continue to question the government’s chequered human rights record and failure to deliver basic social services and economic development for the country’s citizens.

It has become apparent that the Government of Zimbabwe does not want to be held accountable by its citizens, despite proclaiming to be a democratic government.

The same modus operandi was used during the August 2018 and January 2019 persecutions which resulted in a spate of abductions, murder, torture and arrest of civil society actors.

We are concerned that the so-called New Dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa continues to persecute civil society and human rights defenders based on unsubstantiated claims being parroted by the public media.

It is unfortunate that the Government of Zimbabwe continues to use the state controlled media in creating false narratives that are meant to justify its continued promulgation and abuse of draconian laws to persecute civil society actors as well as criminalization of civil society work.

The level of unethical journalism with which the Herald article was authored is disquieting and highlights a hidden agenda to smear civil society actors. This points to a ploy to further shrink the democratic space ahead of the 2023 elections.

President Mnangagwa’s administration has failed to live up to its pledge of a New Dispensation and continues to perfect the art of persecuting dissenting voices as was witnessed during the days of the late authoritarian, Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe has already begun a treacherous slide into a fully-fledged military dictatorship and as the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we shall continue with local, regional as well as international engagements to seek the intervention of pro-democracy forces in stopping authoritarian entrenchment and moving towards the genuine resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.

Attempts at silencing civil society actors and other dissenting voices point to a move to create a one party state in Zimbabwe and this goes against the dictates of a democracy.

We urge civil society actors in the country to remain vigilant in light of the continued onslaught from the State media and the government. Zimbabwe belongs to all its citizens and no government will take our rights to defend its genuine progression and development.

Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

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