Govt urged to use NGO expertise

Report
from The Zimbabwean
Published on 14 Mar 2014 View Original

by Sofia Mapuranga

Government should partner civil society organisations and implement a comprehensive and coordinated approach to help families affected by floods in Tokwe Mukosi.

The Communications Manager of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, Takemore Muzuruse, said the country was ill prepared for disasters and government should use the expertise and experience of local and regional NGOs to alleviate suffering.

Addressing journalists at the Quill Club in Harare, Muzuruse called on government and civil society organisations to collaborate and identify intervention strategies based on their specific areas of specialty.

“There is no co-ordination in how government and NGOS are assisting the flood victims. Government is doing one thing and civil society something else instead of coming together and implementing practical interventions that benefit the affected families,” he said.

Mistrust rife

He said there was a lot of mistrust on either side, with politicians viewing CSOs as potential rivals bent on influencing and meddling in politics, while civil society did not trust the sincerity of government.

“It is important for politicians to understand that our work as CSOs is to complement government,” said Mazuruse. “Government does not have the capacity to deal with the myriad of challenges affecting flood victims. There are NGOs whose area of specialty is psycho-social support. Why not partner them and give the victims the support that they need.”

Pathias Paradzayi Bhongo, a consultant and lecturer in the department of isaster and risk management at Bindura University said Zimbabwe had the potential to deal with problems of this magnitude.

“The only challenge is that our interventions in Tokwe Mukosi as government and CSOs are disjointed. Partnerships are important,” he said.

Sibusisiwe Dube, a Media researcher from the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe said the free flow of information was vital to such cooperation.

“Community radio stations are important and this is why we have been advocating for them to be licensed. Communities can be warned of upcoming disasters such as these through radio,” said Dube.