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Zimbabwe NGOs Dispute Harare's Contention Aid Ban Has Been Lifted

Zimbabwean non-governmental organizations say that they continue to be barred from providing humanitarian assistance despite government claims that food distribution and other forms of aid can resume if NGOs meet new registration and reporting requirements.

Moreover, sources say the government is only allowing the private voluntary associations to help the most vulnerable segments, including people living with HIV/AIDS, and continues to bar them from helping the general population.

Officials of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations say the government has asked NGO aid providers to fill out “monitoring and evaluation forms” which require them to detail budgets and organizational structures, with a September 30 deadline.

NANGO officials say NGOs and donors are currently holding a series of meetings to determine whether they should comply with the newly imposed regulations.

National Director Reverend Forbes Matonga of Christian Care, a main local partner for the United Nations World Food Program told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that despite such concerns among many non-governmental organizations, his organization is starting to organize logistics to resume distribution of food aid.

NGOs advocating human rights, democracy and good governance are also coming under new restrictions though they were not covered by an NGO aid ban Harare imposed in June.

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and NANGO board member Edison Chihota told reporter Gombakomba that it is now harder to operate because rights and democracy NGOs have not yet received the new regulations.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...