Minister threatens to expel NGOs

via Minister threatens to expel NGOs | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo on Tuesday, October 1, 2013

According the World Food Programme one in four people in the rural areas will soon need food assistance

The new provincial affairs minister for Matebeleland South says he will expel any humanitarian organisations that “teach or talk politics”.

Abedinico Ncube, one of the 10 ministers of state for provincial affairs in the ZANU PF cabinet, issued the threat to representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) whom he had gathered at Gwanda town, the NewsDay newspaper reported.

Ncube is said to have warned NGOs on Monday that they risked being “sent back home” if they took “advantage of hungry villagers to peddle falsehoods about Zimbabwe’s political situation.”

“NGOs, your mandate is to provide food assistance to the people, politics is none of your business, leave that to us. If you deviate from your core business, the law provides that we chuck you out.

“It is not your mandate to teach or talk politics, don’t take advantage of our hungry people and if we hear you are meddling you will go home,” Ncube told the NGOs.

Ncube, a strong Mugabe ally who was also on the targeted sanctions list, “forcibly expelled” a cattle farmer and took over his ranch in 2002 when he was deputy foreign affairs minister, according to online whistleblower WikiLeaks.

Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla, an MDC-T senior official in the province and losing Gwanda North parliamentary candidate, said it was possible that Ncube’s “threats were just empty political rhetoric aimed at pleasing his masters”.

“Although Ncube is part of the ZANU PF syndicate that is capable of doing the unimaginable, in this case he knows that if he expels the NGOs from the province, he will be committing genocide by starvation.

“The government has neither the capacity nor the resources to provide people with food and needs these donors,” Mnkandla said.

Mnkandla said NGOs faced an uphill task in trying to ascertain what constitutes politics, “given that ZANU PF defines even constructive criticism as political interference.”

Matebeleland is the driest and poorest region in the country, with people in the two provinces of Mat North and Mat South surviving almost solely on food hand-outs from humanitarian organisations.

Although the government sometimes distributes grain, this is erratic and often done on political lines, with complaints that only those with ZANU PF party cards receive the food.

Earlier this year, a survey by pollster the Mass Public Opinion Institute revealed that 91% and 83% of people in the respective provinces often or “always” go without food on any given day.

Countrywide, the United Nations World Food Programme last month revealed that one in four people in the rural areas will soon need food assistance, saying this “is the highest since early 2009 when more than half the population required food support.”

The food relief agency said it had put in place a plan to start assisting up to 1.8 million of the estimated 2.2 million people facing serious hunger.

However some observers, including the Commercial Farmers’ Union president Charles Taffs, believe the number of people facing starvation and in need of food assistance is actually higher.

Over the past two decades, ZANU PF’s destructive land policies have plunged the country into a man-made agricultural crisis with very little food production in the country’s once vibrant sector.



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    What a rude minister. These NGOs are doing more good to us than you and your party has ever done in the past 3 decades. Have some respect and I expect that by now you would have left your guerrilla like mantra in the Mozambique bushes. You seem to be talking for your party rather than people in your province. Yes because that’s what you are SELFISH MAGGOTS

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 9 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 9 years ago


    • comment-avatar
      zondi 9 years ago

      Gentlemen/Ladies, this is the law of a sovereign state. The mandate of NGOs is to provide assistance to the people and complement Govt effort and not politics. Even if you are hungry or poor at your own home, you don’t compromise your humanity or security in exchange for hand-outs. After all, these NGOs are not giving us anything new. These are extra profits from their companies operating in Zim and are now posturing as Good Samaritans.

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    Rudadiso 9 years ago

    Zondi, why would a government that has been in power for 33 years still have its people fed by NGOs?

    You say these NGOs use money from extra profits from their companies operating here. Please give examples of companies that operate NGOs as well.

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      They come out with these slogans and claims now in order to gain personal advantage. Wait when things turn bad they spit out a different mantra.

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    munzwa 9 years ago

    why dont the NGO,s call zanu bluff and go. What and how would this zanu govt cope then, all this starvation is because of zanu policies and why should,nt the NGO,s explain why they need to be here.

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      Diego Zhaba 9 years ago

      @Munzwa, I agree with you to a large extent. NGOs’ mandate is to save lives, but our situation in Zim is very chronic and not really of a humanitarian nature. NGOs have contributed to saving ZANU PF regardless of it being spiteful of them. Apparently NGOs have also become a source of employment and pay better. This has also made the locally employed guys to advocate and lobby for NGO work in Zim. While I applaud their work I’m yet to get convinced that they have made a difference in the lives of Zimbabweans serve for promoting dependence.

      Our situation needs a completely different approach by NGOs. We are not at all in a Humanitarian situation that calls for heaps of NGOs operating in the country and so their work should be streamlined. We have created chronic poverty and that doesn’t need a humanitarian approach to overcome it. The underlying factors for NGOs in Zim is two-fold and that has largely saved Zanu PF than anyone else.
      1. Donor countries and some of the NGOs want to pursue their work overseas (Zim included) and that also provides jobs for the expats. They are pretty good in justifying the needy situation for their survival – assessments, advocacy, lobbying and proposals for support of some kind of intervention
      2.Feeding the people country wide with the involvement of UNWFP started around 2000 and since then we have seen an increased number of food handouts distributed. Despite the confrontations with the Zanu PF, they never ban them but want them to tore the line and find a way of manipulating them to meet their own political mileage.
      3.If Zanu was really serious about banning the NGOs, they could have done that way back, but they fear if they out-rightly do so they wont manage the situation as they have no capacity.
      4.The NGO work is closely monitored by security agencies who also participate as beneficiaries of the community programmes but ensuring the politics in their operations is well under control.
      5.Some of the CIO guys are directly employed by the NGOs and no one really knows who is who.They equally sound very critical of the govt so that the ordinary guys can volunteer information
      6.NGOs contribute immensely to the economy by bringing in much needed financial resource, employ heaps of local guys as they have emerged as competitive as ever on the job market. One would choose to be an NGO employee than to be a government employee
      7.NGOs are very progressive as they are a platform for self advancement – are very particular in capacity building

      Conclusively, NOGs in Zim, not all have made a significant impact in the lives of many, but their focus is to a large extent misdirected as they are not really serving their purpose. Times have changed and they also need to overhaul their approaches in order to bring lasting change. Some NGOs have been in an area for as 33 years like Mugabe has been the head of the country But nothing of value has been added to the lives of the locals. Some are just business minded, it has become a way to make money. Particularly local NGOs, who are dependent on International Agencies for funding.Its all about building communities capacity to stand on their own than to be perennially present.That has created dependence. The NGO agenda should change in the development context and their relevance becomes questionable if they exist in an area for life.We need a NEW discourse on NGO work than what it is today.

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    Chiza 9 years ago

    Election theifs ,no one voted for them ,these ZANU PF minster’s are jokers ,

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    zondi please back up your claims with proof! I agree that NGO’s should not get involved in politics but telling the truth is telling the truth and unfortunately the truth is the thing that discredits our present govt.!