20 September 2023
To: All Media Editors, Journalists and News Outlets
RE: MACUA WAMUA denounce Gwede Mantashe’s claims that NGos are funded by the CIA.
MACUA, as a social movement grounded in the townships and villages of marginalised and affected communities, vehemently denounces the unfounded and threatening claims made by Gwede Mantashe’s that NGOs are funded by the CIA to fight against him. Such unbecoming allegations are not only baseless and lack any evidence or credibility, they are also a worrying sign of the desperation of power mongers and corrupt and compromised politicians who want to use fear mongering as means to silence criticism and dissent. The statement made by Gwede Mantashe is a tactic often employed by those who are unable to offer real solutions, to discredit legitimate organizations and divert attention from the genuine concerns raised by civil society.
NGOs and social movements like MACUA, play a vital role in a democratic dispensation to advocate and protect the rights of the most vulnerable who are deliberately and systematically excluded from the decisions that directly affect them. NGO’s and Movements like ours contribute to the development and well-being of communities, promoting transparency, and holding governments accountable. Accusing NGOs of being pawns for foreign intelligence agencies, without any tangible evidence as would be required in a country where the rule of law is paramount, undermines our crucial work and produces a chilling effect on our democracy.
The ridiculous and opportunistic claims by Gwede Mantashe is particularly concerning given his senior role in the governing party and the trend among Members of parliament who have also attacked MACUA with unfounded allegations while ignoring the issues of substance that we have placed before them. When senior members of the governing party and members of Parliament routinely use unfounded claims to attack the legitimacy of those who call for justice, we see a consequential increase in the number of threats made to our grassroots activists and we also see arise in physical attacks on our activists.
The claims made by Gwede marshal and members of Parliament are therefore not isolated claims of lunatics who have escaped the asylum, but appears to be an increasingly orchestrated campaign by the ruling party to close down democractic spaces and voices. Taken together with the proposed legislation to allow security services to vet and investigate NGO leaders, the attacks by Gwede Marsha on civil society, should be a grave cause for concern for our whole society. First they came for the NGO’s….
Accusing NGOs of being funded by the CIA or any other intelligence agency not only lacks substantiation but also undermines trust in the democratic process. It is important for public
figures to engage in constructive dialogue, address concerns, and work towards consensus with all stakeholders, including NGOs, instead of making baseless accusations.
We call for an immediate retraction of these claims and urge Gwede Mantashe to engage with NGOs and civil society organizations in a respectful and open manner. Accusing NGOs of being controlled by foreign entities only distracts from the real issues at hand and creates a hostile environment for civil society. It is essential to foster an environment where NGOs can continue their essential work without being undermined by baseless accusations.
For more information contact: Gilbert Moela