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NGOs urged out of politics

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A civic society leader has challenged non-governmental organisations to abstain from politics and focus on addressing bread and butter issues.

Habbakuk Trust chief executive Dumisani Nkomo said his organisation realised villagers needed basics such as water rather than civic education, adding his organisation recently completed a programme of borehole rehabilitation at Empandeni Mission in Plumtree.

Most of the things we do in politics and civics are far removed from the needs and realities of people on the ground, such as access to water and jobs for the youth, said Nkomo.

While I think this is important, I think it is critical for civic groups to focus on bread and butter developmental issues that empower people to take charge of their destinies rather than elitist top-down agendas or abstract issues.

Nkomo said Habbakuk Trust had been empowering Empandeni and other rural communities in Plumtree to have a voice on issues that affect them such as access to water.

We have trained the community on issues of advocacy and set up three advocacy teams there. We also facilitated policy dialogue platforms for them with local and national leaders on issues that affect them including the local Member of Parliament (MP) and the Ministry of water, he said.

Nkomo said their interventions had proved to be effective because they were based on community needs.

The work has resulted in concrete outputs such as training of pump minders, rehabilitation of boreholes and greater accountability from local leaders, he said.

He said in their work they had met little resistance from political leaders in the area.

The programme has been well received by the councillors and the local MP, although one or two mischievous elements have accused us of harbouring political intentions, he said.

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