CiZC faces collapse

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CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) is on the verge of collapse after 10 non-governmental organisations (NGO) pulled out of the umbrella body last week, citing a leadership crisis.
The pull out is a major blow to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded organisation which is already mired with controversies.
At the centre of controversies are the organisation’s failure to remit statutory taxes and flouting the tender procedures.
According to the 2013 External Audit Report, CiZC did not pay the statutory obligations including the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and staff pensions to National Social Security Authority (NSSA) for the entire year except in the month of May.
As a result of this negligence, CiZC accrued arrears and was fined a penalty exceeding US$22 000.
More so that same year, the organisation which has been struggling to attract funding failed to comply with donor reporting requirements (USAID) in failing to perform a USAID audit within stipulated time and failing to send Value Added Tax (VAT) receipts to USAID as required.
Furthermore a car worth US$44 000 was purchased without following tender procedures that require that any purchase above US$33 000 should be put to public tender.
Rumblings of discontent have rocked the coalition since a new executive, led by Dewa Mavhinga, came into office in December last year.
The grumbles could not be contained resulting in the 10 NGOs withdrawing their membership.
The NGOs which dumped the 72-member civil society network include Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), Bulawayo Agenda, Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BUPRA), Christian Legal Society, Habakkuk Trust, National Youth Development Trust (NYDT), Nhimbe Trust, Radio Dialogue, Women Institute for Leadership Development (WILD), and Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.
In a communiqué to the body, the disgruntled organisations said there were amendments to CiZC constitution that were effected without them being consulted and efforts to address this had failed.
They said a meeting was held at the Radio Dialogue offices in Bulawayo in April this year to address the fallout and commitment was made to improve communication from the CiZC bosses.
“Realising that the commitments were not fulfilled and no feedback was given, thus belittling the efforts made to rectify the concerns raised,” the communiqué reads.
“Noting that there is continuous disregard of issues that we deem important and at the core of the coalition and that the board has increasingly overshadowed the powers and role of the institutional members. We, therefore, through this communiqué, individually and collectively withdraw our membership from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition with immediate effect.”
In an interview with The Patriot, CiZC spokesperson Mfundo Mlilo confirmed that 10 organisations withdrew their membership as there were disgruntled by the current leadership which came into office in December last year.
“The members are disgruntled with the new leadership that was elected in December last year,” said Mlilo.
“However, today (Wednesday) we have a board meeting which we hope will resolve the fallout.”
Mlilo said the leadership, which has been in office for the past 10 months and whose term is set to expire next year, is yet to find its feet.
The executive committee include chairperson Dewa Mavhinga, a senior researcher with the Africa Division at the Human Rights Watch, vice chairperson Samukeliso Khumalo, director of WILD (one of the organisations that pulled out of the coalition) and spokesperson Mfundo Mlilo, director of the Combined Harare Resident Association.
However, the demise facing the CiZC is the story of many other civil societies following ZANU PF’s landslide victory in last year’s July 31 harmonised elections.
Zimbabwe is home to more than 2 000 NGOs, with 90 percent of them being sponsored by Western governments.
However, in the wake of MDC-Ts devastating loss to ZANU PF, Western donors virtually stopped financing most of the NGOs because the Zimbabwean ‘story’ was dead.
The Zimbabwe story included alleged gross human rights abuses, poverty, violence and political instability.
Some to survive, like the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, are hoping to gain mileage by calling for another Government of National Unity.
A cursory scan of the NGO sector indicates that many organisations especially those involved in governance and political issues face closure due to financial constraints.
A source in the NGO sector said others that are struggling to survive include Save the Children, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), Plan International, Shape Zimbabwe and Student Solidarity Trust.
She said the downsizing which is being referred to by many civil societies is jargon used to imply that the organisation would have closed, sometimes leaving only the head and secretary at the offices.
Last year The Patriot reported that Goal Zimbabwe and Concern World Wide, the principal drivers of the regime change agenda and Irish funded local NGOs closed shop after 11 years and 10 years of operation respectively.
Prior to the July 31 harmonised elections, NGOs were on the forefront spearheading a regime change agenda.
In 2012 several NGOs such as Human Rights Association, Election Resource Centre, Research and Advocacy Unit and Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network tried to manipulate the country’s electoral system in an attempt to cause political instability.

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