Two prominent Zimbabwean women's rights activists, Sally Dura-Ncube and Jestina Mukoko, have resigned from their respective organisations amid allegations of misappropriation of funds.
According to a credible source in the civil society organisations (CSOs) fraternity, Dura-Ncube, the national co-ordinator of the Women Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ), and Mukoko, the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), received funds respectively from the European Union (EU) to support alleged survivors of political violence during the election period.
The source further revealed that Mukoko and Dura-Ncube redirected the funds to their own personal use, which was not in line with the EU's intended purpose.
“WCoZ and ZPP received US$4 million and US$1.7 million, respectively, from the European Union (EU) to support survivors of alleged political violence during the election period. Shockingly, it appears that Dura-Ncube and Mukoko redirected these funds for their personal use, which was not in line with the EU's intended directive,” said the source.
According to the source, Mukoko and Dura-Ncube resigned after learning that the EU was planning to audit the funds. The two women announced their resignations on their social media platforms, but did not provide any specific reasons for their sudden departure.
“Dura-Ncube and Mukoko redirected these funds for personal use, contrary to their intended purpose as specified by the EU. Concerns about the impending audit of the funds by the EU prompted their resignations, which they publicly announced via their social media platforms,” said the source.
The unfortunate incident sheds light on a broader problem of financial mismanagement within some activist circles. Promise Mkwananzi, spokesperson for the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), faced accusations of misusing funds from international donors which were meant for the #Tajamuka/Sijikile protest group members a few years ago. Mkwananzi also reportedly personalised vehicles donated to the protest group, thereby diverting resources from their intended purposes.
CCC leader, Nelson Chamisa has faced scrutiny for alleged fund mismanagement. Reports indicate that Chamisa used the funds intended for the purchase of a bulletproof car for other purposes. More recently, he reportedly struggled to compensate polling agents despite receiving substantial financial support from the international donors.
The opposition leader also directed the funds raised in a GoFundMe initiative to cover the costs of his election petition in 2018 to his personal foundation. He never accounted for the funds to his party’s supporters and others who responded to the initiative.
WCoZ and ZPP were contacted for comment but were unavailable.