Parliamentary and civic rights watchdog, Veritas has condemned the hate speech aimed at the national governmental organisations (NGOs). This follows the decision by the United States Agency for International Development USAID to cut its funding to Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Election Resource Centre (ERC) and Counselling Services Unit (CSU) citing possible misuse and diversion of funds. Veritas bemoaned that the allegations have been treated as established facts. In a statement, Veritas said,
Veritas deplores the hate speech and the toxic divisiveness that has erupted in the news media and social media over accusations made against some prominent NGOs.
It is most unfortunate that this has happened just before elections when not only the NGOs concerned but all civil society fear that their role in monitoring and promoting free and fair elections and assisting victims of election-based violence may be jeopardised.
As advocates of peace and tolerance and inclusivity in Zimbabwe, we deplore hate speech. As providers of impartial and accurate information, we deplore the way that allegations against the NGOs have been treated as established facts. Allegations are just allegations until they are proved.
As promoters of the rule of law and justice, we believe that all sides have the right to due process and this should be followed in resolving the issues and that no one should rush to judgment until both sides of the story have been heard. If we truly believe in human rights we need first to get accurate information and allow both sides a chance to be heard – otherwise, we are no better than a lynch mob.
As a service to the public, Veritas is willing to put the statements of all parties on our website for everyone to read