Back to Index
This article participates on the following special index pages:
NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis
to speak out unequivocally in condemnation of proposed NGO Bill
Reverend Dr. Martine Stemerick (Methodist Minister)
September 15, 2004
NGO bill is Mugabe’s latest attempt to close down any NGO that supports
human rights, feeds the hungry, documents human rights abuse, or
monitors torture in Zimbabwe. Under this legislation, Mugabe seeks
to control those who speak out for the oppressed and to remove completely
the Church’s freedom to respond to human need according to the mandates
given by God in Scripture.
is the time for churches, the government, human rights organizations,
and concerned individuals to speak out unequivocally in condemnation
and opposition to the proposed NGO legislation, and to the on-going
state-sponsored repression that the government of Robert Mubage
is inflicting upon the suffering people of Zimbabwe.
People are starving
in Zimbabwe today. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable:
four boys and six girls under the age of 14 died last month of hunger,
according to the Bulawayo City Council Health department, who have
recorded 161 deaths by starvation so far this year. Many more deaths
orphans and the elderly relatives who care for them are especially
at risk, and yet Mugabe’s government this week insisted that the
Red Cross reduce the amount of maize meal that is their only reliable
source of food. The Zimbabwe government is understood to have asked
the Red Cross to reduce the quantity of food aid distributed to
orphans and people living with HIV/AIDS in the country’s Matabeleland
North and South provinces.
Red Cross, one of the few Non-Governmental Organisations still allowed
by Harare to feed hungry people in the region, was handing out a
nutritional package of 50 kilogrammes of the staple mealie-meal
and other foodstuffs per month to deserving families. People have
reported that the organisation is now distributing only 10kg of
mealie-meal per month to the families following the government’s
instruction to reduce quantities.
July, Mugabe’s pitiless regime insisted that NGO’s like Christian
Care and World Vision stop their feeding programs, saying the country
has plenty of food. Christian Care and World Vision have moved most
of their operations out of Zimbabwe. We are hearing many stories
about starvation at Darfur, and yet 2.5 million people may be at
risk of starvation in Zimbabwe. The U.N. and other independent
food experts estimate that, at most, one million tonnes of maize
were harvested in a country that requires 1.8 to 2.4 million tonnes
annually. Robert Mugabe wants to control the supply of food to all
people in the months leading up to the elections scheduled for March,
Archbishop Pius Ncube was in London in July, he made this plea:
"By keeping quiet, the churches are falling into the hands of Mugabe.
Now that Mugabe is saying there is enough food, when there isn’t,
it means that he is planning to starve people until they conform
to him. Beat them into submission. I mean, what would Jesus Christ
say if he were here today? Would he just be quiet while people
are starving to death? When they are held to ransom by a dictator?
To me, these churches are betraying Jesus Christ. They must
speak up. All of them. Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, Evangelicals:
all of them. Because the people of Zimbabwe are suffering.
is the time to speak out.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.