CSO’S condemn banning of NGOs

A group of civil society activists has reacted with alarm to the banning of 29 NGOs in Masvingo by Provincial Governor, Titus Maluleke, on 14 Feb for allegedly failing to register their operations with his office.

“The law in this country clearly shows that he has no regulatory authority; nor does he have the power to register or de-register NGOs. Even the Provincial Council that he heads in terms of the Provincial Councils and Administration Act does not have regulatory powers over NGOs.

The council exists solely to foster developmental projects initiated and carried out by central government and local government,” says a statement by the organisations, which include Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition, NANGO, the National Constitutional Assembly and Zimbabwe Election Support Network.

“The Governor’s rash and ill-advised utterances merely seek to confuse matters and are regrettably likely to worsen the humanitarian crisis prevailing in the Masvingo Province. This is because the list of organisations he seeks to ban include NGOs that are currently providing food, medication and water and other social economic support to the community – something the state itself has failed to do due to its misplaced priorities,” say the NGOs.

They said government and NGOs should be coming together to fight the Socio-Economic ills bedevilling Zimbabwe rather than the governor frustrating the efforts of individuals and organisations trying their best to help out.

“We also note that there are reports that Governor Maluleke made the pronouncement suspending the NGOs flanked by security forces from both the Zimbabwe Republic Police as well as the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. We wonder why this was so. We reiterate that the role of the security forces in terms of the constitution is to preserve security during times of war and, for the police, to maintain law and order in Zimbabwe. Their inclusion in the press conference is therefore curious and misplaced and it is difficult for us not to conclude that their presence was a strategy designed to cower and intimidate the NGOs.”

They said the affected NGOs should ignore the order by the Governor and continue to carry out their life saving interventions.

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