President Mnangagwa has warned rogue non-governmental organisations (NGOs) against over-stepping their mandate by meddling into politics, saying the Government will not hesitate to discipline such operators.
The call by the President comes at a time when meddlesome NGOs, working closely with the opposition and some Western embassies, have been abusing their status to interfere in the country’s political affairs in a bid to mastermind regime change.
Addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters during a star rally at Siabuwa Business Centre on Saturday in Binga District to drum up support for Kuda Munsaka, the ruling party’s aspiring candidate for Binga North National Assembly seat in the March 26 by-elections, President Mnangagwa said NGOs that are bent on destabilising the prevailing peace, unity and harmony through dabbling in politics will be kicked out of the country.
“Each and every NGO has been given a mandate, but when they start doing things outside their mandate, it’s now politics. We want to remind you that as Zanu-PF, we are the ruling party and what about you? We simply say to you leave our country and there is nothing that you can do about it because we have the powers to do,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said machinations by the country’s detractors to derail the country’s development either clothed as NGOs or blunt opposition forces that do not wish the country any good must be exposed and consigned to history by 2023.
Government has in the past accused NGOs of abandoning their mandate by pursuing a political agenda in support of regime change. This has prompted Parliament to come up with the Private Voluntary Organisation Amendment Bill, which was gazetted last year in November.
The Bill seeks to, among other things, penalise NGOs that dabble in politics and which have previously been used by the US and other Western nations to fund regime change.
The amendment seeks to add to section 10 of the principal Act by the insertion of a new paragraph that bars any private voluntary organisation from supporting or opposing any political party or candidate in a presidential, parliamentary or local government election.
Any private voluntary organisation violating this provision shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or both such fine or such imprisonment.
The penalty also extends to foreign organisations that solicit funds for political parties in breach of the Political Parties Finance Act.
Apart from barring NGOs from pursuing political lobbying the Bill’s Memorandum says the amendments are also being made, to comply with the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) recommendations made to Zimbabwe.
Further to this, it has also become necessary to streamline administrative procedures for private voluntary organisations to allow for efficient regulation and registration President Mnangagwa has also scoffed at Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Mr Nelson Chamisa for fantasising too much about foreign bail outs.
“There is this boy who says when his party wins elections, within five days the country will be teeming with investors from Western countries. We are saying this country can only be built by its own people. Nyika imwe neyimwe ino vakwa nevene vayo,” he said amid thunderous applause by jubilant Zanu-PF supporters.
“Our revolutionary party Zanu-PF went to war and liberated this country. President Mnangagwa also implored party members to desist from violence.
“We want unity in the party and if you fail to resolve your differences, I will personally come and resolve them. No one is above the party. Zanu-PF can’t fit into an individual’s pocket, but everyone can fit into its pocket.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe will remain a unitary State and that no amount of effort from the country’s detractors or those calling for a separate State will divide the country.
Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who also attended the rally, lauded President Mnangagwa for spearheading development in the country under the Second Republic and denounced violence ahead of the by elections.
“We don’t want violence as we head towards elections. Those who lose elections must accept defeat not to resort to acts of violence as we want to continue building our country,” he said. “Under the Second Republic we want peace and harmony. We want to build our country. Those who claim to be champions of democracy yet they threaten to engage in violence in the event of losing an election should be mentally examined.”
Zanu-PF Second Secretary and Vice-President Kembo Mohadi urged people to rally behind the ruling party. He commended President Mnangagwa for delivering on his promised as evidenced by several projects being undertaken under the Second Republic.