Gutu Development Forum Courts Western European Envoys

Gutu, February 2, 2014 – The Gutu Development Forum led by its patron, Edmund Masanganise, who is Chief Gutu recently met two ambassadors from Western European countries as the forum continues to cement relationships with countries that can contribute meaningfully to the development of the district in the drought prone Masvingo province.

A statement released by the Forum said the delegation met the new Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe,Gera Sneller to touch base on where the previous ambassador had left.The new ambassaor was assigned to Zimbabwe after the reassignment of the previous ambassador Barbra Joziasse.

After the meeting,the Forum met Bard Hopland, the Norwegian ambassador to Zimbabwe.

In the meeting with Hopland,the forum discussed matters to do with education, health, infrastructural and community development in the district.

The Forum has of late started to reap fruits of their networking with European embassies including twinning of schools and sponsorship of workshops to do with gender-based violence.

The Gutu Development Forum is proving to be a viable alternative for donors’ entry into the communities including the involvement of chiefs.

The last governor of Masvingo province Titus Maluleke had just before the disputed July 31 elections last year, banned the operationns of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the province. However, in a u-turn the recently-appointed minister in charge of provincial affairs, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti recently appealed to these organisations to assist with developmental projects.

“We are appealing to all NGOs, including those that were once banned, to resume operations.Some families are going for two days without having a proper meal. Anyone who once banned these NGOs from operating is misguided and retrogressive,” Bhasikiti, voted as member of Parliament for Mwenezi constituency told the media when he made his appeal for NGOs to return to his province.

Most of the NGOs have headquarters in Western European countries and the USA which imposed targeted sanctions on most of the ruling Zanu (PF) leadership citing human rights violations.

Aid bodies have thus for long had an antagonistic relationship with the government and the ruling party, both accusing the charities of supporting opposition political parties like the MDC formations. The NGOs strongly deny the allegation.

Mirror (Masvingo) / VOP