19 October 2015
Over in South Africa's extremely anti-gay neighbour, Zimbabwe, the country's first "Lady", Grace Mugabe, recently claimed that some of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the opressed African nation were involved in what she termed "sinister" activities.
According to News Day, Grace Mugabe, who spoke at a rally in Rushinga, slammed the NGOs, warning that they should stick to their obligations and stop interfering in the country's domestic processes.
"No one will interfere with them as long as they don't interfere with what we want here in Zimbabwe... Most NGOs are sent by the West. Some will say we have such a programme we want to do for Zimbabwe and we have put such an amount, but surely that money will not be used for the intended purposes," Mugabe was quoted as saying.
Her attack on NGO's came a few weeks after President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson, George Charamba Charamba, took a swipe at the United Nations agencies who had condemned Robert Mugabe's anti-gay tirade at the UN General Assembly earlier this month.
News Day reported at the time that Mugabe's tough stance against homosexuality had angered donors, who consequently signed a statement condemning member states still discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation.
Charamba, in a statement to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, however, said the Zimbabwe government was "disturbed" that the agencies had turned themselves into lobby groups and not "mere employees of the world body".
Charamba said the agencies had no right to criticise a sitting head of state and government like Mugabe.
NGOs operating in Zimbabwe have always come under fire from ruling Zanu-PF party officials, who often accused them of plotting regime change in the southern African country.
Last month a New Zimbabwe.com report quoted Zanu-PF Member of Parliament Oliver Mandipaka as challenging the government to ban the Western-funded NGOs, arguing that they were "now too many" and were "causing confusion in the country".
Back in 2008, Mugabe's government banned NGOs which were distributing food aid in the rural areas, accusing the development agencies of helping Zimbabwe's opposition party's.