LOCAL civil society leaders and their members were not happy that former president Robert Mugabe was removed from power by whatever means because his departure at least brought some sanity in the country, outspoken Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
Mugabe was toppled after 37 years at the helm through a military coup which was supported by thousands of ordinary people who marched in the streets of Harare in solidarity with the army last November.
It is during Mugabe’s reign that hundreds of NGOs and aid agencies started humanitarian work because of rampant abuse of human rights, food shortages and deteriorating health sector.
Mushonga who was part of the panellists during a civil society and political parties interface on the electoral laws, said it was surprising that despite their private stance that Mugabe must stay the same civil society activists were now ordering politicians “do this and that”.
“One of my biggest problems in this country is, I think, we also need to talk to civil society about yourselves and begin to find space where we tell each other the truth,” said Mushonga in her opening remarks.
“Because I think there is something wrong with you making an assumption that everything rests with the Members of Parliament, and yes we may be late in dealing with issues because we are there in the house.
She added, “But also I think civil society itself, the agitation that we are finding now being invited to five meetings a day, is an indication of the fact that you also slept on duty.”
“If you had been putting pressure with the amount of energy that you are putting now, we probably could have moved much faster and as political parties we have been shouting almost hoarse on this issue with lone voices without the necessary support coming from civil society.”
“I personally have a problem with civil society because November 18, it was civic society that did not want to hear anything that was an alternative to say yes Mugabe is gone though there are more issues on the table.”
Mushonga went on to say that in one of the meetings she was almost beaten by members of the civil society for celebrating Mugabe’s ouster.
“I was almost lynched when I told the civil society that…The entire room full of civil society people did not want to hear about that we had gotten into new Zimbabwe and everything was fine.”
She added, “And only now you are coming back to say no we have not arrived when we have been telling you all along, so that is part of our frustration with the civil society.”
Mushonga is the MDC legislator for Matabeleland South province through the Proportional Representation quota system.