As Zimbabwe heads for a Constitutional referendum and a general election this year, political tensions are on the rise. It is hoped that the environment will be even. What is disturbing is the increase of incidents countrywide of harassment, arrest, unlawful detentions and office raids of civic society members.
There has been an outcry by civic society members over continued police crackdown on its members and resistance by the local authorities and traditional structures for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to operate in their areas despite having all necessary documents for them to provide humanitarian assistance.
As the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, I acknowledge the role of NGOs in providing humanitarian and developmental assistance as complementary to Government efforts in meeting the social needs of its citizens during this harsh period where Zimbabwe is under serious food deficit.
Close to two million people are in dire need of food assistance. Millions of Zimbabweans depend on NGOs for assistance and denying them assistance will jeopardise the livelihoods of millions of them.
As the MDC Secretary for Labour, I wish to applaud the humanitarian assistance offered by a number of NGOs in the country more so across the political divide in all provinces. The MDC as a party subscribes to the fundamental principles of freedom of movement and association and will condemn in the strongest of terms the partisan behaviour of the police and some sections of the Judiciary.