Zim NGOs resist government interference

NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisations (NGOs) operating in Harare told Provincial Development Coordinator Tafadzwa Muguti to “go hang,” in a scathing response to a letter he sent demanding they seek clearance from his office.

Muguti announced a raft of reforms to maintain a close eye on NGOs’ operations within the province, including provision of their annual work plans, monthly reports and details of workshops or trainings they undertake.

However, in response to Muguti’s demands, nine of the NGOs operating in the capital said they will not follow any of his demands as his office is legally non-existent.

“We have noted with concern that you have not provided the legal basis upon which you have made this request. It would have been extremely helpful if such a basis had been clearly laid out,” reads the letter dated July 7.

“We note that although the Provincial Councils and Administration Act provides for Provincial Governors and Provincial Administrators, currently there are Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Provincial Coordinators. Your office as Provincial development Coordinator is non-existent in statute.

“In the event that you believe you have the same function as would be held by the Provincial Administrators in terms of the Provincial Councils and Administration Act, a reading of Section 10 of this Act clearly points towards the fact that your powers are confined to coordination of the various ministries and organs of government. Your office therefore has no mandate to regulate the operations and clearances of NGO activities,” the NGOs wrote.

The nine NGOs are; Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, National Association of Youth Organisations, National Transitional Justice Working Group, Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Zimbabwe National Students Union, and Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children.

Muguti who since his appointment by President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been crossing swords with residents, civic society and fellow Zanu PF party members has been told the same in the past.

In April Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum (HAMREF) refused to acknowledge any of his directives, indicating his office was illegal.

The NGOs urged Muguti to consider his options after their response including acting upon his “illegal letter.”

Adds the letter: “We submit that the powers that you purport to exercise are not lawful.

“Your directives are unlawful and have no effect at law. In the event that you decide to act upon your illegal letter, then and in that event all and any appropriate legal steps will be undertaken to protect ourselves.”

Muguti is one of the 10 PDCs appointed by Mnangagwa in August 2020 to assist Ministers of State with technical and administrative support, needed to promote economic growth, job creation and betterment of people’s living standards.

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