Home » Governance » NGOs Turn Blind Eye On Chingwizi

The majority of local NGOs have ignored the humanitarian emergency facing over 3 000 families displaced by flooding in the Tokwe-Mukosi basin in Masvingo, with the corporate sector and a few organisations providing 98 percent of assistance rendered so far.

Investigations by The Herald show that there are less than five local NGOs active at Tokwe-Mukosi.

A large number of local NGOs, that sprouted in the wake of the standoff between Harare and London, have over the years received millions of US dollars from their Western financiers, which they have directed at fighting Government.

Out of the 90 NGOs registered under the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Masvingo, only the Red Cross, Christian Care, Bhaso and Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers’ Association have extended help to people at Chingwizi holding camp since they were there following flooding early this year.

President Mugabe has declared a state of disaster and Government is co-ordinating relief efforts.

Most of the NGOs that are at the forefront of talking about human rights have ingored the humanitarian situation at the camp in Mwenezi District, which is beset with food shortages and an accommodation crisis.

The need for warm clothing and blankets is likely to increase as the cold weather sets in.

As the situation remains dire in Chingwizi, 48 NGOs last week made a declaration that sought to discredit the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament.

No word was mentioned of the immediate problem of humanitarian relief for flood victims.

Even NGOs that deal with health-related issues have been largely invisible in Masvingo.

Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Kudakwashe Bhasikiti said: “We would not want to underestimate the level of assistance given to the flood victims by our NGOs ever since disaster struck at Tokwe-Mukosi, but I think there is scope for our NGOs to do a more. We are happy with the support they are giving us but they can do more.”

Analyst Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri said most NGOs had directed their resources towards political activities.

He said if Zimbabwe had a pending election, the NGOs would have been more visible in Chingwizi where they would be giving “aid for votes”.

“If Zimbabwe was facing an election like in South Africa they would be more visible where they would be giving them food and ideas on a person or party to vote for,” said Dr Mhiripiri.

Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations president Mr Goodson Nguni said local NGOs were mainly preoccupied with fighting Zanu-PF under the guise of aancing human rights but not humanitarian issues.

However, Nango chief executive officer Mr Cephas Zinhumwe defended the NGOs saying they had varied mandates.

“We focus on governance and not humanitarian issues. There are those NGOs that focus on those issues and they have done a great job in that area of humanitarian assistance,” said Mr Zinhumwe.

He said financial resources remained a challenge and Nango had lobbied various organisations to assist at Chingwizi.

“We are quite serious and concerned about poverty in the country and what happened to people at Chingwizi,” said Mr Zinhumwe.

According to a consolidated list of organisations, companies and individuals that donated to Chingwizi families, from the Local Government, Public Work and National Housing Ministry, the Red Cross donated over 600 tents and tool kits, while Bhaso donated fuel for operations.

Christian Care donated a seven-tonne truck and fuel, while Murra donated 10 packets of flour, candles, sugar, cooking oil, sugar beans, 60 packs of sanitary pads and 2 000 bars of soap.

Vocal NGOs like Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Peace Project, ZimRights and the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform are yet to extend any help.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Youth Forum, Media Monitoring Programme in Zimbabwe and the Aocacy and Literacy Trust are also conspicuous by their silence.

Others, such as the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust, Humanitarian Assistance Trust of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Community Development Programme are yet to respond to Government’s appeal for assistance.

As HIV and Aids patients, including children, at Chingwizi are struggling to make ends meet, the Centre for HIV and Aids Care and Agricultural Support, Zimbabwe Network for People Living with HIV and AIDS, Free the Children Trust, and others are not on the ground

Government made an appeal for US$20 million to help flood victims and Minister Bhasikiti recently revealed that 98 percent of assistance had come from local companies and organisations with foreign donors accounting for only 2 percent.

The Development Set

Excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet –

I’m off to join the Development Set

My bags are packed, and I’ve had all my shots,

I have travellers’ cheques and pills for the trots.

The Development Set is bright and noble,

Our thoughts are deep and our vision global

Although we move with the better classes,

Our thoughts are always with the masses.

In Sheraton Hotels in scattered nations,

We damn multinational corporations

Injustice seems so easy to protest,

In such seething hotbeds of social rest.

We discuss malnutrition over steaks

And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks.

Whether Asian floods or African drought,

We face each issue with an open mouth.

We bring in consultants whose circumlocution

Raises difficulties for every solution –

Thus guaranteeing continued good eating

By showing the need for another meeting.

The language of the Development Set,

Stretches the English alphabet

We use swell words like ‘epigenetic’,

‘Micro’, ‘Macro’, and ‘logarithmetic’.

Development Set homes are extremely chic,

Full of carvings, curios and draped with batik.

Eye-level photographs subtly assure

That your host is at home with the rich and the poor.

Enough of these verses – on with the mission!

Our task is as broad as the human condition!

Just pray to God the biblical promise is true:

The poor ye shall always have with you.– Ross Coggins

Source: Lords of Poverty by Graham Hancock

Source : The Herald