BY OBEY MANAYITI
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has claimed that a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) last month cancelled their programming for fear of victimisation following threats by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that his government would go after NGOs who organised the January protests.
In January, residents in many parts of the country participated in a national demonstration against the rising cost of living and a 150% fuel price hike.
The State deployed soldiers to quell the riots. Government was rapped for the indiscriminate assault and harassment of civilians by State security agents.
Following the riots, Mnangagwa said his government would weed out organisations that reportedly encouraged people to riot, among them doctors and lawyers.
ZPP said programming of many NGOs was disturbed following Mnangagwa’s statements.
“Following the utterances of the President, NGOs have been forced by circumstances to cancel some of their programming, as a result, the operating space has become volatile and unsafe for most programming,” ZPP said in a report.
“ZPP is concerned about the continued blame game targeting civic society organisations (CSOs) that have been described as regime change agents by the government, in the aftermath of the violent protests as this tarnishes the role and efforts made by CSOs in supporting engagements towards building lasting peace in Zimbabwe,” the report added.
The report further noted a decreased number of human rights violations between January and February.