In an exclusive interview with Radio VOP on Friday, Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he had not yet been fully appraised on the real reasons behind the ban but insisted the decision by governor Maluleke had the blessings of his party.
“Leadership at a local level are the ones who decide on what action to take against a certain NGO,” said Gumbo.
“The principle of the party is there on the table. So he (Maluleke) is not acting on his own. He is following the party resolutions. We are saying these NGOs must go through the vetting process and if they are allowed, the local leadership must decide whether they want them or not.”
Gumbo refused to indicate if the ban on NGOs operating in the hunger prone province would be the trend in other provinces of the country which are all being led by Zanu (PF) loyalists.
Speaking under their umbrella banner of National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO), Zimbabwe’s embattled NGOs on Thursday issued a concerted plea to member organisations operating in Masvingo to defy governor Maluleke’s order to close shop.
NANGO insisted Maluleke was not a regulating authority and as such had no legal standing to impose any ban on NGOs.
But Gumbo gave the clearest signs Zanu (PF) would unleash the country’s law enforcement agents to respond to the situation.
“How can they defy the law? They would obviously be breaking the law,” he said.
Announcing this last Tuesday, governor Maluleke said the ban was also occasioned by that the affected NGOs had ignored his calls to register with his office.
He insisted his office was the authority that grants permission to the voluntary organisations to start operating.
Maluleke said the ban was with immediate effect.
In what could pass as a show of might, governor Maluleke made the announcement in the company of provincial Joint Operations Command (JOC) comprising of the ZNA army commanders, ZRP Provincial leader, ZPS provincial leader and the dreaded Spy agency leaders in the province.
During its December 2011 conference, Zanu (PF) declared war on local NGOs which it said were abetting a western sponsored regime change agenda through campaigning for MDC-T under the guise of giving humanitarian assistance.
The NGOs deny the accusations and see this as evidence of fear to lose power by the Mugabe led administration that has lost the support of ordinary Zimbabweans.