By Brightface Mutema
The reading of the riot act to some errant Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) by the Acting Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Honourable Kazembe Kazembe should be applauded in the sense and manner of protecting our national security and integrity.
This should not be misconstrued to mean the lack of appreciation of the sterling contribution to socio-economic development of our country by some these NGOs. Indeed, they are tunnels through which development aid may be channelled towards the country, but for them to operate without checks and balances from the authorities would be tantamount to bringing porosity to our national security and integrity.
NGOs play an important role in the economic development of developing countries like Zimbabwe. They provide services to society through welfare works for community development, assistance in national disasters, sustainable system development, and popular movements amongst a host of other efforts.
In light of this, a healthy relationship between these NGOs and Government is only conceivable when both parties Government and NGOs share the same objectives. Problems start to corrode this rather mutual cooperation if some NGOs deviate from their declared mandate and start to act like commissars or campaign managers for some opposition political outfits.
I remember vividly during the turn of the millennium when there was an influx of NGOs into the country under the guise of developmental and humanitarian initiatives yet they were like wolves in sheep’s skin. Most of them I shall not mention by name were conduits for funding for opposition politics. The opposition evaded the local legislation that guides the funding and administration of political parties through working hand in glove with some of the NGOs who would in turn call the shots on the conduct of such parties. He who pays the piper calls the tune so goes an adage to describe the ultimate conduct of some opposition political parties in trying to please their pay masters.
During that era, our political turf was intoxicated with poisonous political rhetoric that was propelled by certain NGOS, let alone framing against the government on alleged human rights violations and broken down rule of law.
Some these NGOs appear to have strayed from their original mandate again, hence, government had to rein them in.
Government fears that NGOs threaten national security and can erode its power through unorthodox means. Regime change can be a complicated and hidden movement that can be pushed by NGOs right under the nose of the Government if it fails to be strict on their operations and conduct.
During the Mugabe era, in 2007 to be precise, nearly all NGOs operating in Zimbabwe were deregistered because they had turned out to be too political, catalysing the wave to usurp power from the then president.
Once bitten twice shy and the Second Republic could not fold its arms while a repeat of 2007 was underway. These NGOs need to be whipped into line if ever they want to work in harmony with Government. It is better doing without them than allowing the perpetuation of machinations of illegal regime changers.
Politics is for politicians and NGOs for developmental and humanitarian aid. Commendation goes to government for the timeous intervention that came when the enemy thought that it was regaining ground through using mainly some International NGOs to destabilise our political fray. Such proclamations should continue to be made as they buttress all the fortresses that constitute the first line of defence to our national security.