Masvingo governor threatens civic society, again

MASVINGO - Masvingo provincial governor, Titus Maluleke has issued fresh threats of banning civic organisations he accuses of interfering with the electoral process ahead of the make-or-break general elections expected this year.

Maluleke, who banned 29 NGO’s last year accusing them of refusing to comply with government regulations to register, on Thursday summoned 45 local civic organisations and threatened to ban them if they interfered with elections.

“We were summoned by the governor and warned not to interfere in politics or the election process,” said Gamuchirai Mukura, coordinator for Community Tolerance and Reconciliation Development (Cotrad).

“He said he will ban any organisation found dabbling in politics ahead of the polls expected this year.”

Maluleke accuses the civic society of mobilising support for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.

Cotrad said operating in the province would be very difficult as the governor, who was accompanied by members of the security sector, from the dreaded spy agency, CIO, warned they would be watching every activity of the NGOs.

National Association of Non Governmental Organisations, southern region chairperson, Sylvester Chin’anga said the national leadership was dealing with the issue.

Other NGO’s who spoke to this paper but declined to be mentioned for fear of victimisation said Maluleke and his Zanu PF party were trying to stifle voter education.

“I think Maluleke and his party are not happy with the programmes of voter registration and education that some organisations have started in preparation for the referendum and the general elections,” said a local civic society leader.

At the meeting, 43 organisations were forced to make presentations on their activities last year.

Efforts to get a comment from Maluleke were fruitless as he was said to be out of office while his mobile phone was not reachable. - Godfrey Mtimba

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