Community Development Politics

Abigale Mupambi shines a spotlight on CSO activities in Zimbabwe

Abigale Mupambi, CSCJF National Coordinator

The civil society is an important, indispensable part of a democratic society, Abigale Mupambi, the National Coordinator of the Civic Society and Churches Joint Forum has said.

Below, Spiked Online Media reproduces an interview that the maverick civil society activist had with one Comrade Netanyahu and Barbra Nyagomo as she gave the nation an insight into how this group works in Zimbabwe:

Cde Netanyahu: We have a guest tonight, @Abigail Mupambi , generally known as an activist.

Cde Netanyahu: In Brief Who is Ms Abigale Mupambi?

Cde Netanyahu: Q2. What are the roles of Civic Society/ NGOs?

A. Mupambi: Thank you so very much for hosting me on this platform today.

Abigale Mupambi is a mother of 3, a human rights Defender, activist, and Civic Society leader currently the National Coordinator of the Civic Society and Churches Joint Forum.

A. Mupambi: The Civic Society or NGOs’ role in every Community or Country is to act as a development complement to the host government or the people. Governments have the sole responsibility to provide for their people but for some reason, governments can’t do it all hence the need to partner with these development partners / CSOs /NGOs.

Cde Netanyahu: Q3. Do Zimbabweans have a common understanding of what roles Civic Society and NGOs play in Zimbabwe?

A. Mupambi: Also CSOs have a check and balance role over government, which is sometimes referred to as the watchdog role.

Babra Nyagomo: I will suspend group chats and temporarily make Abi and @⁨Netanyahuu⁩ Admins so that they can proceed with the presentation. I will open the floor for questions and Group programmes continuity.

Cde Netanyahu: Thank you for the explanation.

A. Mupambi: There are serious distortions as to the role and responsibilities. Some distortions are crafted deliberately by the selfish individuals who will ride on the ignorance of the masses and take the opportunity to mislead the people for their selfish Agenda.

CSOs are a legally recognized constituency and their role is equally critical for balanced development.

Cde Netanyahu: Q4. Who funds these organisations and can a government fund NGOs/ CSOs? if it does won’t those organisations be conflicted?

A. Mupambi: Currently most of our CSOs are funded externally and it has been the scenario for a long time. It’s a tragedy. The hand that feeds normally controls.

Yes, the government can fund CSOs. It used to have such a funding in the form of grants but currently there is no such.

Some local CSOs are complemented by the business community under their Corporate Social Responsibility aspect.

Cde Netanyahu: 5. To what extent does foreign funding of NGOs compromise their mission and objectives? Are they really funded by foreign governments or its a perception?

Cde Netanyahu: In this response, you have somewhat answered my subsequent question. Should you want to add further you may touch on its second part, that’s on is it not a perception that they are compromised since they get funded by the countries that are perceived by the countries they operate in as hostile countries.

A. Mupambi: It’s an open secret. Foreign embassies often advertise such funds in the style “Call for proposal”.

The template defines the nature and scope of the program to be funded at any given point . The amount involved and NGOs are left to compete for the hanging funds .

Yes, Foreign governments do fund most of our NGOs, some on mild and some on radical programs.

In short, the hand that funds generally controls. We are alert of that as local CSOs, we may need to focus on social enterprising to sustain our operations and keep our agendas independent.

A. Mupambi: It remains a perception and fact!! It’s very subjective.
I rest my case on this one.

Cde Netanyahu: Q6 (a). Do we have an existing regulation of NGOs and Civic Society organisations, if not do we need one?

(b) Further, our government: does it really have the power to regulate the activities of IGOs like the UN but aren’t they guided by the laws of Zimbabwe?

Cde Netanyahu: I mean regulatory framework…

A. Mupambi: All NGOs get the mandate to operate in the country from the government through central and local government, be it international, National, Community based and faith-based Organisations.

However, there is a need for a harmonised regulatory framework for the NGOs in Zimbabwe. This will help to curb the current distortions within the sector.

The Civic Society has a pending self-regulatory framework which is still in the pipeline. The government too seems to be out of touch on how to effectively coordinate this critical sector and is sometimes forced to use force which is also another blunder!!

A hamonised regulatory framework is key, and long overdue to deal with the current distortions in this sector and allow the expected value out of the Government/CSOs partnerships.

Cde Netanyahu: 7. What do you suggest be done on CSOs so as to ensure they abide by their mandates/ recommend to be included in the regulatory framework of such organisations?

Cde Netanyahu: Appears to be answered though.

Cde Netanyahu: 8. What is the relationship between CSOs and political parties? And Q 9. Can CSOs affiliate with political parties?

A. Mupambi: Government must understand and appreciate the role of CSOs and CSOs must understand that they are not agenda setters but rather complements, all in the effort to assist the masses so there is absolutely no reason to appear as competitors or rather rivals.

A. Mupambi: As l said above, CSOs draw their mandate from the government of the day. They work as complements to the existing systems. They work as watchdogs over the presiding systems and sometimes as advisers.

Whilst Political parties do chase the corridors of power. Some work very hard to sustain the power whilst others work very hard to prove that they are the best alternatives.

Come Elections Political Parties compete in the electoral race upon which we draw a set of our public officials. These public officials form part of “government” this set there is no more partisan agendas !!! All must work together to enhance a better life for the masses.

Cde Netanyahu: 10. CSOs in Zimbabwe: In your view are they fulfilling their roles or not? Why does it seem that there are rival CSOs in Zimbabwe, some pro-opposition and some criticising the government policies but at the same time supporting and acknowledging the good policies of the government?

Cde Netanyahu: Last and Bonus Question. I was actually shocked how the UN seems to be implementing and accelerating the LGBTQI agenda when the people, our customs, and laws don’t condone such. They are recruiting UN Volunteers specifying that they need people who are qualified to ensure that the LGBTQI people’s interests and rights are respected in Zimbabwe. I think it’s imperative to make the Constitution clear that LGBTQ is a no-no.

You may have noted from our engagements with other people or yourself if you have ever done so, that they use the Constitutional silence or gap as an implicit condonation of LGBTQI. Do you think section 72 is enough by just defining marriage as legal only to heterosexuals or there is a need to refine or define the aspect of LGBTQ in our laws?

A. Mupambi: The is a visibly clear hijack of the CSOs movement/Constituency in Zimbabwe!! It all goes back to the CSOs and NGOs as a sector to first commit to going back to basics. The highly distorted Political environment has affected our house too!!

Over and above, a harmonised regulatory framework for this sector will be the first key step towards repositioning this sector in Zimbabwe.

Babra Nyagomo: Members, THE FLOOR is OPEN to interact with Abigale @Abigail Mupambi

+27 73 010 0334: Great presentations and noted notes.

A. Mupambi: The UN just like AU currently, is solely controlled, funded by the west, and the LGBTQI agenda is theirs!! hence the funny programs to support such!!

I think our values, customs, and beliefs do matter most in this case. We need to clearly define our position on this because surely because of the distortions and the love of money !! Soon we will have our very own children carrying placards on the streets demanding this in the name of rights … It’s a sad situation.

+27 73 010 0334: Question: CSOs have since inception sided with opposition politics than collaborate with the government to deliver humanitarianism. The Gift of the Givers is a typical example of a non-partisan organisation. What benchmark standards can Zim CSOs learn from the best of both worlds.

Cde Netanyahu: Thank you very much for the hour of engagement. I am done on my part. Be blessed.

You may, as @Babra Nyagomo⁩ has said, respond to the group members’ questions.

A. Mupambi: Not really since inception. … What you must understand is that the rise and demands tabled by the Civic Society around 1997 and 1998 influenced the formation of the first strong opposition movement – the MDC. It was not a made idea for the Civic leaders then to open the eyes of the people to an idea of opposition. The tragedy came when the mother-child relationship continued until the old boy suffocated the mother.

This is the umbilical cord between the then CSOs and the MDC.

Someone was supposed to cut the umbilical cord to allow the two to independently proceed with set mandates.

A. Mupambi: Thanks so very much.

+263 77 379 5608: Given that CSO’s in African countries are more either foreign-funded or rarely corporates funded. What are the chances of the CSO’s ending up singing for their supper so as to maintain as much funding as possible even if it means fabricating and the misrepresentation of the situation on the ground? Abigail Mupambi, What measures can be put in place to ensure neutrality and separation of the political bias and development-oriented?

A. Mupambi: Singing for the super is the current trap that CSOs have already fallen into, a clear regulatory framework will help the situation.

Redefining the operational parameters without fear or favor will serve the sector from becoming a total mess. The CSO movement is one powerful sector that if well managed can change the lives of the people for the better if carelessly left unattended can become a brew of terrorism.

A. Mupambi: Singing for the supper is the current trap that CSOs have already fallen into, a clear regulatory framework will help the situation.

Redefining the operational parameters without fear or favor will serve the sector from becoming a total mess. The CSO movement is one powerful sector that if well managed can change the lives of the people for the better if carelessly left unattended can become a brew of terrorism.

+27 73 010 0334: Exactly connotations of the point of view and the subsequent catastrophe that followed and paralysed the state that was once an envy of the globe.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende