MASVINGO Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti has pleaded with non-governmental organisations (NGOs)operating in the country to assist government, saying the Zanu PF government cannot go it alone.
By Tatenda Chitagu
Bhasikiti’s stance heralds a major policy climb-down from his predecessor Titus Maluleke who banned NGOs from operating in Masvingo for two years accusing them of pursuing a regime-change agenda.
Addressing aid agencies at Masvingo Civic Centre last Friday, Bhasikiti charmingly described NGOs as key and strategic partners.
“You are very key and strategic partners to me and the government. You serve our people and make life worth living . . .We value your existence, which is why I met you ahead of many other groups on my schedule. We want to strengthen our relationship in development,” Bhasikiti said.
The Zanu PF Mwenezi East legislator said his government had realised that by fighting the aid agencies — most of which provide food relief and support for HIV and Aids orphans and play a key role in infrastructure rehabilitation — the government was shooting itself in the foot as it is failing to address a litany of challenges alone.
“We are coming from a period where everything was politicised, but now light is dawning on us that there is little benefit in politicking.
“What makes life go ahead is real work and projects on the ground to better our people. We are faced with several challenges, but we cannot address them alone, that is why you are here.
“You identify niche areas and fill the void in your programmes. It is not cast in stone on how you are going to intervene, but that is our expectation. Make sure you address such challenges. This meeting is meant to give you highlights of what we expect of you,” Bhasikiti said.
He said the government had identified four key areas — food shortages, dilapidated infrastructure, poor social services and value addition in minerals — where the NGOs should chip in.
“Food security is a challenge and you can address it from different angles. Your programmes should reduce poverty in a way you design. Plan your programmes with some of these challenges in mind.”