from DANAI MWARUMBWA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE High Court of Zimbabwe has ordered government agents to stop interfering with or stopping the operations of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
This is a major victory for these organisations that for years have endured clampdowns by government.
High Court Judge Justice Esther Muremba has ruled in favour of the NGOs, trusts, civil society organistaions and faith based organisations, which are mostly critics of the government.
Tafadzwa Muguti, the Provincial Development Coordinator for Harare Metropolitan Province, masterminded a crackdown on these organisations.
In July, Muguti accused some NGOs of straying from their mandates and demanded that they submit to him their work plans for activities to be conducted in 2021 including information on workshops, trainings, project and monthly reports of their operations.
This compelled Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition to file an urgent chamber application.
The two organisations, which represent 22 NGOs and more than 60 civil society organisations, argued that Muguti’s orders were legal nullity as it violated the right to privacy enshrined in section 57 of the constitution, the right to administrative justice.
In her judgment, Justice Muremba ruled that Muguti had no power to issue the directives.
A rift exists between the Zimbabwean government and civil society.
The NGOs accuse the government of human rights violations.
Government has denounced these organisations as siding with the opposition and Western governments in the so-called regime change agenda.
– CAJ News