Maluleke recently banned 29 local and international NGOs operating in Masvingo citing failure to register with his office. In an interview with The Standard last week Mpariwa said her ministry was the only authority mandated with registering or deregistering NGOs in the country.
She said NGOs must continue their operations countrywide. “His statement was reckless and a political blunder for his party,” said Mpariwa. “People are dying due to lack of adequate food and his statement is uncalled for.
“My ministry has the mandate to administer the operations of NGOs and I know who is operating where, why they are there and what they are doing in those areas.”
Mpariwa said since 2009, her ministry has never issued out a warning statement to NGOs because government desperately needs assistance. She said it was unfortunate that Maluleke’s statement came at a time when there was a food crisis not only in Masvingo but in Manicaland, Matabeleland North and South where crops are a total write-off.
“We are relying on assistance from private voluntary organisations for sinking boreholes in communities and schools where water is scarce,” said Mpariwa. “There are people on medication who need a good nutrition and there are children in need of financial assistance for education and my ministry is overwhelmed by their plight.”
Mpariwa said donations from NGOs have significantly improved people’s livelihoods in the country. Recent reports indicate that an unspecified number of NGOs were withdrawing their assistance and presence from the drought stricken Masvingo province at a time when the communities are in dire need of food aid.
The government is facing serious financial constraints and cannot cater for the needs of the populace in various areas such as health, food security, water and sanitation among others.
It is estimated that more than 1,4 million people are receiving food aid from charitable organisations countrywide.