By Leopold Munhende, Chief Correspondent
THE Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has described President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF regime as shameful, adding that it was determined to close all democratic spaces following a series of scathing reports “misrepresenting” its agenda.
The civil society organisations (CSOs) group was responding to recent onslaught by Zanu PF, through state owned media, accusing it of attempting to destabilise the country and effect regime change.
CiZC’s statement was in relation to an article published in one of the state’s weeklies titled “NGOs plot to unsettle Zim exposed,” which accused it of getting funding from America’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for regime change purposes.
The article, carried by The Sunday Mail, also alleged the organisation had been granted a US$160 000 grant to canvass for support from neighbouring Botswana, Zambia and South Africa.
CiCZ has over the past year been constantly accused by the state of spearheading and funding anti-government protests.
“As of late, state-controlled media has been publishing a predictable pattern of defamatory propaganda articles that allege civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition are seeking to destabilise and topple government. Their running theme has been that we want to effect regime change in the country,” said CiZC spokesperson, Obert Masaraure.
“We have taken note, though not surprised, that the regime can stoop so low as to use private information submitted in confidence to ZIMRA to score cheap propaganda points. So much about ‘open for business.’ This is shameful.
“The malicious allegations contained in the state’s propaganda pieces are but a desperate attempt to find a scapegoat for the ZANU PF government’s inability to run the country and its economy.
“The incumbent ZANU PF government is evidently in a panic mode as evidence of failure has increasingly become too apparent. These are clearly desperate attempts to scare and intimidate those calling out its failures. They now seem more determined to close any remaining democratic space.”
Masaraure said any allegations that it was sponsoring “terrorist” activities in the country were unfounded, highlighting that the only terror Zimbabweans had experienced had been at the hands of Zanu PF.
“We remain non-partisan but very political. The issues we collectively engage span the political, economic and social spheres – and the constitution of the republic provides for our varied mandates, hence our existence,” said Masaraure.
“We are not and have never been agents of terror. In fact, much of what we see, experience and fight against in Zimbabwe, is the state-sponsored terror that dates back to the 1980s, when an estimated 20 000 civilians lost their lives; many others suffered rape, abductions, displacement, and torture under the ZANU PF government.
“This pattern of rape, abductions, unwarranted arrests, detention and public malignment by ZANU PF propagandists has grown to be a familiar affair by a desperate regime. All those that challenge the excesses of the ruling ZANU PF party, including those within ZANU PF itself, suffer the same consequences.”
He added: “It is evident that a small clique in the ZANU PF government wants to turn this country into a One Party State, in their mistaken belief of turning Zimbabwe into a mini communist Kingdom without elections.
“This small clique, which is averse to history, has slowly derailed the country from the post-independence dream of a Zimbabwe which affords all its citizens a decent life, of equal opportunity and access to basic goods and services. This quest by the small clique in ZANU PF flies in the face of the popular values for which we fought during the protracted liberation war.
“The small clique in ZANU PF and their propagandists must know that these routine threats through malicious and false reporting will only strengthen our resolve, rather than cow us into submission. We have done no wrong and we will continue to pursue our work in defense of the constitutional rights we all ought to enjoy.
In this regard, we remain FIRM and UNSHAKEN in our resolve to fight for a democratic, corruption free, economically developed Zimbabwe, where progress is inclusive and benefits all citizens.”