- Zimbabwean humanitarian aid agencies have suffered yet another blow before resuming aid work operations in impoverished African state despite an announcement by government to lift ban on aid work, NGOs official said.
A major setback comes after all aid groups were requested to resubmit their registration information, including details about their staff and amount of food they were importing to distribute before they could resume any humanitarian aid.
Fambai Ngirande, spokesman for National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) said state wanted to increase control over independent aid groups before allowing them to resume their work.
Government had called aid groups to meeting after announcing on Friday that it was lifting a ban imposed almost three months ago while accusing independent aid groups of supporting opposition. But aid groups have denied government's accusations of supporting opposition activists, accusations leveled when it imposed the ban shortly before a June presidential runoff.
However government did not lift ban on NGOs involved in promotion of human rights, good governance and democracy, a move NANGO has criticised.
NANGO said feeding schemes for hungry children and support programmes for people living with HIV and AIDS were among programmes disrupted by state structures on the ground that it said had largely ignored an instruction by Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche to allow NGOs to resume distribution of humanitarian aid.
"The state will only recognise the more welfare-oriented NGOs which are registered as private voluntary organisations. Other NGOs will remain under suspension," Mr Ngirande said.
Programme manager for international aid group Oxfam, Adam Berthoud said he was aware that some aid groups would not be able to resume work in Zimbabwe, but said Oxfam was registered and was making plans to start humanitarian assistance.
United Nations humanitarian agencies predict number of Zimbabweans who would need help to stave off hunger will rise to more than 5 million by early next year.
The opposition blames Zimbabwe's crisis on Mr Mugabe's increasingly autocratic and corrupt rule. Zimbabwe began unraveling after Mugabe ordered the often-violent seizures of white-owned commercial farms.
However president Mugabe said campaign was meant to help landless blacks, but most farms went to his generals and cabinet ministers.
Zimbabwe's inflation of 11 million percent, marking the world's highest inflation rate, and exacerbated food crisis has been blamed on European and US sanctions that target people and companies linked to president Mugabe with travel bans and asset freezes.
But critics blame Zimbabwe's troubles on repression and wrong polices by veteran leader such as his haphazard fast-track land reform exercise that displaced established white commercial farmers, resulting to severe food shortages.
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