|Masvingo PDC Dr Jefta Sakupwanya|
Masvingo Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC) Dr Jefta Sakupwanya on Tuesday July 13 told local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to align their activities towards making National Development Strategy (NDS1) a success so as to achieve Vision 2030.
Speaking at an engagement meeting on the mandate and operations of the civic society in the province with representatives from over 50 local NGOs, Dr Sakupwanya said the indaba was meant to improve relations between government and NGOs.
“We called NGOs here so that they come and we map a clear path and bind the government’s relationship with them. When husband and wife get into a fight they will seat down and talk to resolve the issue.
“The meeting happened in a transparent manner and we want to achieve Vision 2030 and NGOs being partners which supplement our programmes they should align their programmes with government activities,” said Dr Sakupwanya.
He also added that they had made it clear to these NGOs operating in the province that they should revert back to their original roles in the communities which they are working in.
“I think they clearly understood what we meant here and we specified certain boundaries which are no go areas for them. We told them to return to their original responsibilities of helping people in various communities,” Dr Sakupwanya added.
Representatives of various organizations including; Mwenezi Development Training Centre (MDTC), CARE, Plan International, MyAge Zimbabwe, GOAL Zimbabwe and Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) gathered at the Robert Mugabe School of Education to discuss about their areas of operations and activities.
Bodies which represent various NGOs have however urged the government to avoid targeted victimization of some organizations in the civic society space but rather treat them as development partners.
National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO) Southern Region chairperson Godfrey Mtimba said NGOs were law abiding organizations which were fighting for the betterment of livelihoods in the country and not adversaries.
“As NANGO we abide by the law and operate within the confines of the law. However, sometimes some of our organizations end up being labelled agents of certain agendas yet in actual fact we will be advocating and lobbying for human rights. We urge the government to treat NGOs with respect because we are there to help and improve people’s lives and be the voice of the voiceless.
“We implore to government not to misinterpret us when we call for respect of human rights, good governance and rule of law as acts of dabbling in politics,” said Mtimba.
The meeting attracted organizations from all the province’s seven districts and their respective District Development Coordinators.
Government has been accused of trying to interfere and stifle some NGOs who stand accused of being agents of regime change and working with foreign organizations to influence change in the country.