via NGO’s not enemies of State, Zanu PF told NewZimbabwe 20/10/2013
THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has said it will challenge the Zanu PF government to desist from its habit of viewing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the country as enemies of the State.
Zanu PF is notoriously suspicious of NGOs and claims many of them are working with opposition groups to advance, according the party leadership, the regime change agenda of former colonial power Britain and her allies.
Human rights groups accused the party of cracking down on their operations in the lead-up to the July 31 elections with several leaders of the organisations arrested.
However, Elasto Mugwadi, a commissioner with the ZHRC, said there was no need for the distrust and friction.
“As the Zimbabwe Human Right Commission one of our functions, which I will repeatedly mention to government ministers, is that we have to mitigate the suspicion and the fights that have hitherto existed between government and some NGOs,” said Mugwadi.
“We will continue to do that without fear or favour because we need donors more than they need us.”
Mugwadi was speaking at the handover,by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), of 60 beds and various other items to Mount Hampden-based Northcot Training Institute which is involved in the rehabilitation of young offenders.
His remarks followed reports that the government wants to step-up the monitoring of NGOs operating in the country.
Mugwadi reminded the government that it was through the assistance of NGOs and other development partners that the country kept going over the last decade when the economy was bleeding as a result of sanctions.
He also expressed concern over the many bureaucratic hurdles in registering NGOS saying these were scaring away much-needed donor funding.
ZPP moved in to help address problems at Northcot after being concerned by plight of the 160 children detained there.
“The ZPP hopes and believes that the contribution is going to improve the lives of children,” ZPP board member Okay Machisa said.
“This donation comes at a time where there is a lack of or limited civic education in Zimbabwe’s primary and secondary schools curricula is one that contributed to the system failing to cultivate mutual respect among Zimbabweans.
“Civic society groups that have ventured into providing this service to communities in Zimbabwe have done so with much difficulty. Zimbabwe’s education system is also lagging behind when it comes to globalization and digitisation formats which could greatly improve the system if adopted.”