Unite Against Authoritarian Tendencies says ZDI Report

ZDI Director Pedzisai Ruhanya

Unite Against Authoritarian Tendencies says ZDI Report

A local think-tank, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) has urged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country to unite and come up with strategies that will help to disrupt authoritarian and power consolidation measures employed by the government.

The recommendation is contained in a report titled, Civic Space Contestation Ahead of 2023 in which ZDI critically looks at the closure of civic spaces in Zimbabwe under the Second Republic which came to power in November of 2017.

Although the Second Republic is famed for chanting the mantra Zimbabwe is open for business, CSOs in the country have had to endure the opposite as they have been living under constant threats of closure and arrest.

CSOs are currently sweating over the impending shrinking of civil space that will be prevented by such laws as the Cyber and Data Protection Act, the PVO Amendment Bill, and the proposed Patriotic Bill.

These bills will effectively stifle operations and the existence of CSOs that mainly focus on elections and human rights.

However, ZDI has advised CSOs to persist with efforts to thwart the totalitarian control and power consolidation measures used by the government through collaboration, and coalition building among other strategies.

 “In a bid to remain relevant under the current closure of civic space by the government of President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa, it is imperative that CSO do the following.

“Speaking with one voice against the government’s attempt to close the civic space (unity of all CSOs in the country). This is against a background of discohesion within CSOs themselves.

“For instance, one of the CSO’s meetings in Mutare was disrupted by the military and rumor said a certain fellow CSO had alerted the security forces of the meeting.

“Establishing a strong coalition of CSOs in the governance sector and humanitarian sector and work together towards achieving intended objectives.

“This is informed by the fact that government relies much on humanitarian organisations and it will be difficult for authorities to be selective in its application of the law towards CSOs and NGOs.

“Continue with innovative lobby and advocacy online and offline campaigns to disrupt authoritarian rule consolidation measures,” read the report.

The ZDI Report is also of the view that the PVO Bill if passed into law will have a negative impact on the country’s economy as it will reduce the amount of foreign currency that Zimbabwe earns and raise unemployment levels.

It is believed that non-governmental organisations generate more foreign currency than foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe.

Unite Against Authoritarian Tendencies says ZDI Report