PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned that his government will not accept civil society organisations that wade into politics by using their money to effect regime change agendas.
Speaking during a Presidential panel at the just-ended Africa CEOs Forum, which Mnangagwa shared with former Nigerian President Olusegun Ombasanjo, he said developmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are acceptable.
“Civil society, who come with an agenda, especially in the area of elections, they assemble a team of what they call experts coming from various countries and come and say we want to teach your people about voter education, they then come with gifts like beans and when you open the beans (sic) you find a paper inside which tells you whom to vote for. Such type of civil society is not necessary we don’t need it,” he said.
Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF has clashed in the past with NGOs, accusing them of undermining Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and attempting to use food aid to overthrow former President Robert Mugabe.
Mnangagwa said NGOs should not try and force their definition of democracy onto the African continent.
“If they interfere in the politics of a country, that’s not acceptable and also the issue comes in on who is funding them has an agenda if one has a funder who wants to address issues of poverty, provision of clean water that is acceptable, but to say a particular party, say in Nigeria, has stayed in power for too long and it must go in terms of their understanding of democracy from wherever they come from, it is necessary to have 10 or 15 parties forming a government, let them form those governments where they come from. If in a country there are few political parties and the one that wins the majority and is allowed to form a government let it be, in our view it shouldn’t anger them (sic),’ he said.
Zimbabwe, which has been under the spotlight for building strong individuals instead of strong institutions, is unlikely to depart from that trajectory, with Mnangagwa saying the leaders’ vision is more important.
“I am not aware if there are institutions themselves which have created any vision. I think the vision is created by the strong leader and then institutions operate in the framework of the vision by the leader. Africa needs leaders with vision to dream for the future of their nations,” he said.
Mugabe was revered as a strong leader and government revolved around him, resulting in the lack of strong institutions, which could keep his appetite for power in check.