30 NGOs suspended in Masvingo
MASVINGO – Masvingo provincial governor Titus Maluleke yesterday suspended with immediate effect over 30 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from operating in the province accusing them of defying a directive to register with his office.
The move could spell disaster for thousands of villagers who were depending on the NGOs for food in the drought-stricken province.
The NGO’s include both international and local organisations.
Maluleke, who is also the Zanu PF senator for Chiredzi, summoned all NGOs to a meeting at his offices in the morning to read the riot act.
Maluleke was flanked by members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) as he delivered the news accusing the organisations of operating clandestinely in the province.
“I am immediately suspending your organisations from carrying out any operations in my province until the requirements set by the government are met,” said Maluleke, who further accused the NGOs of failing to register with the local government offices in the province by a 31 December 2011 deadline.
Only 19 international and 16 local institutions complied.
“I have to do this because some of you are operating outside the law and also I realised that what I said in our last two meetings towards the end of last year has not been taken seriously that’s why I called this meeting to deal with the matter.
“We advised you to submit your registration certificates and memorandum of understanding before December 31st after moving the deadline from 21 October last year but up to now most of you have not submitted their papers so because of that, those organisations are suspended forthwith and they will not operate or do their activities in my province,” said Maluleke.
Some of the organisations suspended included those in developmental partnerships with communities, humanitarian aid groups that are currently offering food to hapless villagers grappling with the effects of the current drought situation in the arid province.
HIV and Aids groups were also not spared. Some of the suspended organisations include Care International Bikita, Zvishavane water project Chivi, FACT, Centre for HIV/Aids Community help group, Zimbabwe Aids Network (Zan) among other others.
Zanu PF has been at loggerheads with most NGOs in the country — particularly those in the humanitarian, human rights, governance and developmental work — accusing them of using their services to campaign
Maluleke, in trying to justify his actions, said some of the organisations were sneaking into his province to do clandestine activities without seeking permission from local authorities.
“Some of these organisations have people who land at the Harare International Airport and drive fast to Bikita.”
“We are aware of that and we want that to stop so no organisation will operate without permission from my office,” he said adding that NGOs must stop working with local councillors, most of whom are from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party.
Maluleke’s Zanu PF party lost several wards to MDC candidates in the province.
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango), Masvingo regional chairperson, Sylvester Chin’anga, told journalists after the meeting that the move is a death penalty for thousands of people.
“The move has negative implications to a lot of people out there who rely on help from the NGOs especially those that were getting food aid,” said China’nga
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