TWENTY-NINE non-governmental organisations have been de-registered in Masvingo province after they failed to submit certain paperwork to the local provincial administrator.
Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke said 11 others – mainly dealing with children, HIV/Aids and disability issues – had been reported to the Department of Social Welfare.
The crackdown has sparked fears that the move is political after Zanu PF threatened just that at its December conference held in Bulawayo.
The party’s central committee report to the conference delegates claimed that there were about 2,500 NGOs operating in Zimbabwe and some of them were pushing a “regime change” agenda.
“Some of these NGOs are working day and night to remove President (Robert) Mugabe and Zanu PF from power. They are being funded by Britain and some European Union countries, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand,” the report claimed.
Maluleke summoned NGO representatives to announce the de-registrations on Tuesday. Nine other provinces – which are all under Zanu PF governors – would now be under pressure to do the same.
The governor reminded the NGOs that their operations in Zimbabwe are governed by the Private Voluntary Organisation Act which requires them to be registered with the Labour and Social Welfare Ministry.
He told them: “In an effort to ensure the compliance of NGOs operating in the province, we requested you to resubmit a certificate of registration together with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the respective local authority to the Provincial Administrator’s office.
“An initial deadline of October 21, 2011, was given for all NGOs to comply with the directive. We later on extended the deadline to December 31, 2011, after realising that a majority of the organisations had failed to meet the October deadline.
“I, however, note with concern that your organisations have, up to date, not submitted their memorandum of understanding and certificate of registration to the PA’s office, as per my directive prompting me to believe that they are not lawfully registered and hence operating outside the confines of the law.
“Given the foregoing, I am left with no option but to immediately suspend your organisations from doing any operations in Masvingo until all the requirements of the law are met. Please be guided accordingly.”
Maluleke, while acknowledging the work done by the NGOs in community development, claimed they had become “non-governable organisations”.
He added: “We are made to understand that you come to complement the government as partners, but like the bride or bridegroom, you ought to inform the other partner about your activities.”
Below is the list of suspended NGOs:
Strengthen Seed and Output Markets Project, Soap, Choose Life, Community Based Aids Programme, Zimbabwe Community Development Programme (ZCDP), GYPCE, Centre for HIV and Aids Care and Agriculture, Ambassadors, Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), Mucheke Community Conflict Centre, Free the Child Trust, Precare, Liestomy Colostomy Zimbabwe Trust (ILO ZimTrust), Masvingo Plan of Hope, Rujeko Conflict Management Association, Youth and Environment Action Support Network, Care and Support Trust, Friends of the Blind, Advocacy and Literacy Trust, ROHR Zimbabwe, Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation, Care International-Bikita, Fact Mutare, Mvuramanzi Trust, Safire, Khula Sizwe Trust, Heifer Project, Pump Aid and Zvishavane Water Project
The NGOs listed below have been reported to the Department of Social Welfare:
Jairos Jiri Association Mucheke, Zimbabwe Association of the Visually Handicapped, Zimbabwe Network of People Living with HIV and Aids, Chiredzi Christian Village, National Council of Disabled People of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parents of Handicapped Children Association, Lining Way Capacity Development Organisation, Margareth Hugo School and Works for the Blind, Masvingo Community Based HIV and Aids Organisation, and Zimbabwe Aids Network (ZAN)