Government lifts ban on NGOs


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The government on 29 August 2008 lifted the ban on non-governmental organisations which it imposed on 4 June but it said all NGOs would now be required to provide information on a form called the monitoring and evaluation instrument.

The Secretary for the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Lancaster Museka, set up areas in which the NGOs would be allowed to operate:

  • humanitarian assistance, food aid, relief, recovery and development;
  • family and child care protection;
  • care and protection of older persons;
  • rights and empowerment of people with disabilities,
  • and HIV and AIDS treatment, care, and related support services.

Museka said the reporting form would be issued to NGOs in the coming weeks and must be returned to the Ministry within two weeks thereafter.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE765, GOZ LIFTS NGO BAN

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE765

2008-09-02 16:27

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3371

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0765/01 2461627

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 021627Z SEP 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3366

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2250

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2370

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0899

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1647

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2003

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2424

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4856

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1519

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000765

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR G. GARLAND

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

DCHA/AA FOR MIKE HESS

AFR/AA FOR KATE ALMQUIST AND FRANKLIN MOORE

AFR/SA FOR ELOKEN, LDOBBINS, JKOLE

DCHA/OFDA FOR KLUU, ACONVERY, TDENYSENKO, LMTHOMAS

DCHA/FFP FOR JBORNS, JDWORKEN, LPETERSON, ASINK

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ASEC EAID KDEM PGOV PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: GOZ LIFTS NGO BAN

 

REF: A. A. HARARE 754

B. B. HARARE 503

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) On August 29, the Ministry of Public Service,

Labor, and Social Welfare finally lifted the ban on

non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) and private voluntary

organizations’ (PVOs’) field operations that the GOZ had

imposed on June 4, 2008 (ref B). This comes after weeks of

efforts by donors, NGOs, and the MDC to push the Zimbabwean

Government (GOZ) to lift the ban which denied the

organizations access to 1.3 million at-risk Zimbabweans. The

GOZ initiated the ban when it accused the NGOs/PVOs of using

food as a political tool during the run up to the June 27

presidential run-off election. NGOs are now scrambling to

ramp up their operations and to supply the GOZ with a

required report on their operations by the end of September,

2008. END SUMMARY.

 

—————————————

Ban lifted, information required by GOZ

—————————————

 

2. (U) The Secretary for the Ministry of Public Service,

Labor and Social Welfare, Lancaster Museka, issued a

statement on Friday August 29 announcing that the suspension

of all PVO/NGOs registered under PVO Act Chapter 17:05 was

immediately lifted, allowing operations to continue in: (1)

humanitarian assistance, food aid, relief, recovery and

development, (2) family and child care protection, (3) care

and protection of older persons, (4) rights and empowerment

of people with disabilities, and (5) HIV and AIDS treatment,

care, and related support services.

 

3. (SBU) Museka and Stanley Mishi, head of the Department of

Social Services (DSS) within the Ministry, hosted a

“clarification” meeting on September 1 for NGOs and UN

agencies. Museka and Mishi explained that all NGOs would be

required to provide information on a new form called a

“Monitoring and Evaluation Instrument”. Mishi declared that

this reporting requirement was not new, but had been laid out

in the NGO Operational Guidelines of 2003. (NOTE. As the

meeting opened, they demanded that everyone from an

organization registered as a “trust” and anyone not an

“NGO/PVO or UN agency” leave. While some left,

representatives from USAID, the French embassy, the European

Community Humanitarian Organization (ECHO), and the Dutch and

Swiss development agencies stayed. END NOTE.)

 

4. (SBU) The GOZ officials said the reporting form would be

issued to NGOs in the coming weeks and must be returned to

the Ministry within two weeks thereafter. NGOs will need to

provide for June 2007-June 2008: contact details, a

“corporate governance section” that includes names of board

members and officers, registration objectives, implementation

areas, funding details (e.g. sources, amounts), sub-grantees,

description of program activities and developmental programs,

and program details. For this period, NGOs must also provide

information on food and non-food items, including how much

they distributed, where, and where it was sourced. Museka

and Mishi also asked for a July-December 2008 food

distribution plan. All this information must be signed by

 

HARARE 00000765 002 OF 003

 

 

the organization director and would carry the “force of the

law” if it is found untrue, Mishi said. In addition to the

requested information, Museka and Mishi directed NGOs to

display registration certificates in all offices and to

provide a copy to local and national authorities. They

emphasized that organizations not complying with GOZ

directives could face deregistration.

 

———————————

“Military involvement is history”

———————————

 

5. (SBU) The 2003 Guidelines state that NGOs should

“complement GOZ efforts”, “not create parallel structures”,

and “deliver through local governance structures”. When

asked whether the Joint Operations Command had in fact in the

past constituted a “parallel structure” for the delivery of

humanitarian assistance, Mishi said military involvement was

“history”. (NOTE: The JOC is a group of security-related

ZANU-PF leaders that wield significant control over politics

and security throughout the country. It has been frequently

accused of facilitating the distribution of food aid along

political lines. END NOTE.) Museka and Mishi said local

community committees should agree on who should receive food

and that Members of Parliament, chiefs, and local councilors

should not be included in the committee. These officials

should only be approached by the committee to mediate

local-level disputes. Mishi further explained in no

uncertain terms that “able bodied people should not receive

food handouts”, singling out World Food Program’s Vulnerable

Group Feeding program (COMMENT: It is unclear who would

determine who is and isn’t “able bodied”, and how food

distribution would be affected by this determination. END

COMMENT.)

 

——————————————— ————–

Nonetheless, The Herald levels new accusations against NGOs

——————————————— ————–

 

6. (U) Throughout the nearly three-month ban, GOZ officials

have said that NGOs were “dabbling in politics” in their food

distribution. In announcing the lifting of the ban on August

29, the government mouthpiece “The Herald” leveled two new

accusations against NGOs as an explanation of the ban. The

Herald reported that “NGOs were accused of asking

unsuspecting villagers to surrender their national identity

cards before the March elections, but did not return them,

effectively depriving them of their right to vote”. The

Herald also claimed some NGOs threatened to “stop food

distribution” in the event of a ZANU-PF victory.

 

———————–

NGOs ramp up activities

———————–

 

7. (SBU) After the lifting of the ban on Friday, C-SAFE (a

consortium of CARE, World Vision, and Catholic Relief

Services), the major supplier of U.S.-provided food

assistance to Zimbabwe, began dispatching food over the

weekend. C-SAFE director Eddie Brown told us he believed he

had enough food to meet or exceed his September distribution

targets. Additionally, he said C-SAFE was already working to

mobilize a “massive scale-up” in terms of logistical

arrangements and re-engaging communities throughout the

country. C-SAFE had already organized meetings with

 

HARARE 00000765 003 OF 003

 

 

governors and other officials, and believed it would be

received positively as large-scale food distribution ramps

up.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (SBU) The lifting of the humanitarian assistance ban is

long overdue, and comes after repeated diplomatic and NGO

requests. The GOZ has, however, left itself an opening to

shut down certain NGOs or activities as they review the

documents NGOs must submit by the end of September. And

although the GOZ has acted, many NGOs fear local ZANU-PF

officials and war veterans will obstruct their efforts. We

are encouraged by the lifting of the ban but will watch

cautiously to see if unfettered humanitarian access becomes a

fact.

 

9. (SBU) The June 4 ban issued by Nicholas Goche, Minister

of Public Service, Labor, and Social Welfare, referred

specifically to NGOs engaged in humanitarian assistance.

Nevertheless, there is concern among some NGOs that the newly

enforced requirements to submit information could be used to

impede the operations of NGOs operating in the area of

democracy and governance if the GOZ and local officials

disapprove of their work and goals. We will monitor this

situation closely. END COMMENT.

WARREN

(37 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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