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An Enabling CSOs Environment key for Sustainable Development: NANGO

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The National Association of non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) has underscored the fact that an enabling civil society organisations (CSOs) environment is key for sustainable development.

The statement by NANGO yesterday comes as the umbrella body for NGOs takes note of Memorandums that are being issued by local government structures such as Masvingo, Harare, Manicaland, Matabeleland North.

“Further, we take note of the recent sentiments by some Government departments and politicians on the agenda and characters of NGOs.The NGOs who are under the amalgam of NANGO and other like-minded CSOs in Zimbabwe are cognizant of the roles they play in complementing Government in advancing development at all levels. Collectively, our humanitarian work and unseasoned service to the marginalized and vulnerable communities during times of disasters, droughts, and pandemics such as the Covid-19 continue to demonstrate the unique contribution of NGOs to human development and engendering of resilience across the country.

“Furthermore, we have also noted other regulations proposed by some line ministries all of which come to further limit the autonomy and operational space for NGOs. We understand that government should assist in facilitating development through the creation and enactment of enabling policies and legislation. We look forward to a dialogue that can resolve the issues amicably,” NANGO said in a statement.

On the other hand, a like-minded organisation, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition revealed it was consulting its membership on a plan of action following threats by the government to further shrink the democratic space by setting up reporting structures for non-governmental organisations.

On June 30, 2021, the Provincial Development Coordinators for Harare and Masvingo respectively ordered that nongovernmental organisations will be obliged to submit work plans, monthly reports, and details of workshops among a host of other demands.

In 2019, the same directive was issued to non-governmental organisations in Masvingo.

The directive was however reversed following a High Court order.

According to Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella body of civic society organisations operating in Zimbabwe, the demands from the office of the Provincial Development Coordinator for Harare, Tafadzwa Muguti were meant to criminalise operations of non-governmental organisations critical to the authoritarian nature of the Zimbabwean government.

Some civil society leaders in Masvingo declared that the same demands from the office of the PDC in the province must be resisted using all available channels.

Civic contacts in Manicaland argued that the clamping down on non-governmental organisations is meant to entrench dictatorship and CiZC called upon pro-democracy forces to resist this.

NANGO further argued that the current development, if not managed well, may have a huge implication on the welfare of the vulnerable communities and reversal of the gains in health, resilience, education, social protection, and effective participation of the public in democratic processes.

It is in this regard, that NANGO and broader Civil Society Organisations notes with great concern the sentiments and issuance of administrative procedures by government departments and politicians targeted at NGOs.

“As NGOs, we play pivotal roles ranging from financing, implementation, watchdog, and oversight, all of which contribute towards national development. This is critical in ensuring the realization of Agenda 2030, Vision 2030, National Development Strategy 1, and various sectoral plans.A multi-stakeholder approach is the new innovative way of partnering to deliver the development outcomes. This work can be facilitated and enhanced by an enabling environment,” NANGO added.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende