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‘Election rigging now in motion’ as govt shuts down 291 NGOs – Hwende

The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) believes that the Zanu-PF government is already instituting measures to rig the upcoming 2023 elections following the government’s decision to de-register 291 Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs).

This comes after the Registrar of Private Voluntary Organizations, in conjunction with the Private Voluntary Organization (PVO) board, issued a statement this week saying that they had noted with concern that a number of registered PVOs are not complying with the prescribed expectations of their operations.

They decided to de-register 291 non-governmental organisations.

“Accordingly, the Registrar of Private Voluntary Organizations and the Private Voluntary Organization Board have therefore deregistered 291 organizations that were found to be non-compliant with the provisions of Private Voluntary Organization,” said Director of Social Development, Tawanda Zimhunga, in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

This is happening when the country is set to hold harmonised general elections in less than 6 months.

Commenting on the issue, CCC secretary general Chalton Hwende said the closure of rights organisations was evidence that the Zanu-PF government had already begun rigging the pending plebiscite.

“The rigging of the 2023 election is now in motion. Human Rights Organizations are now targeted for closure, our Party is banned and our leaders are in Jail. 291 NGOs fail to comply with regulations,” he said.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson Obert Masaraure condemned the shutting down of PVOs citing that the move presented a negative impact on the operations of civil society organisations.

“This is quite an unfortunate development that will negatively impact the lives of ordinary citizens; especially given the fact that most of these organisations are working in the field of social welfare,” he said.

“We also have to be alive to the negative economic impacts of this move and the fact that jobs will be lost, and again this will impact negatively on livelihoods.

“Government should consider the welfare of the suffering masses before implementing decisions that impact on people’s welfare.

“We would also like to highlight the fact that the push to amend the PVOs Act is a sure sign that the government is determined to close down operating space for civil society organisations.”

Masaraure said that the decision was meant to frighten NGOs against making checks and balances on the government itself.

“Government is keen to instill fear into civil society organisations that are undertaking their genuine role of holding the government to account.

“We implore the government to respect the work of civil society organisations and to recognise their huge contribution to the strengthening of democracy, good governance and economic prosperity,” he said.

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