Shalom Projects’ Trust director Pastor Anglistone Sibanda has denounced the recent clampdown on civic organisations like Christian Alliance are part of, saying such moves curtail freedom of expression.

A number of civic organisations recently came under fire from police for allegedly inciting violence and being used by the MDC. Organisations such as Ibhetshu Likazulu, NYDT and Habakkuk Trust were recently harassed by police for engaging in activities likely to cause alarm and despondency.

Speaking to following the recent attack on National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) by police, CA’s Pastor Useni Sibanda said the harassment of civic society was a political scheme. “The issue is about the elections. Zanu-PF is already in its campaign mode. They are afraid that the civic society will influence people on behalf of the MDC which is not so,” Sibanda said.

“What we are seeing is not surprising since Zanu-PF is determined to deal with civic organisations.”
Sibanda said civic organisations cannot engage the public on salient issues due to fear and intimidation.

Our main concern is that the space for NGOs and other parties is closing when we are in the process of discussing the constitution. This is seriously infringing on democracy and freedom of expression,” an irate Sibanda said.

Civic organisations are calling for major institutional reforms — for example within the police — according to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) so that the there is no intimidation. Without these they say the watershed elections — scheduled to take place in 2013 — would not be free and fair.