By Tichaona Sibanda
11 August 2011
Plan International, an NGO that works to promote the rights of children while trying to lift them out of poverty, has come under fire for ‘wilfully’ letting ZANU PF hijack its projects in Mutare.
MDC-T MP for Mutare West, Shuwa Mudiwa, blasted the NGO for working to enhance the ‘public face’ of ZANU PF, particularly the governor of the province, Chris Mushowe.
Mudiwa defeated Mushowe in the 2008 parliamentary elections for Mutare West and now accuses Plan International of openly campaigning for the governor in the same constituency.
The MP claimed that Plan International has for years worked with the poor and the vulnerable in Manicaland without looking at political affiliations, but that has changed in recent months.
‘Two years ago the NGO built a classroom block at Karirwi secondary school in ward 18 of Mutare West and the same block was named after Mushowe,’ Mudiwa said.
On Wednesday Plan International handed over an income generating poultry project to the same school and the MP was not even invited to the ceremony, despite the fact he lives less than a kilometre from the school. The governor, Mushowe was the guest of honour. This forced the MP to gatecrash the function. The NGO donated 2,500 chicks to the school.
‘It’s true I gate crashed the function. I’m the MP for the area and I find it disturbing that you had the entire ZANU PF leadership in Manicaland province present and I was not invited. The military too, represented by Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, was there in full force.
‘I confronted Plan International’s Mutare coordinator, Garikayi Nyakudyara, to explain why I was being excluded from such gatherings. His excuse was that it was not their responsibility to invite me to such functions but the community’s prerogative. This was laughable to say the least,’ Mudiwa said.
MDC-T spokesman for Manicaland, Pishai Muchauraya waded into the controversy by claiming that the NGO’s Mutare coordinator was a ZANU PF functionary.
‘We know Nyakudyara has a position in the ZANU PF provincial leadership. In fact he works in the security department of ZANU PF. I can repeat this allegation straight to his face if he wants me to,’ Muchauraya said.
He continued: ‘Where in the world have you seen NGO’s working with the military. It only happens in war torn countries like Somalia but here in Zimbabwe, Mutare to be specific you have Plan, an NGO working with ZANU PF and its military for political purposes. It is clear they are now sponsoring ZANU PF through the back door.’
SW Radio Africa contacted Plan International Zimbabwe at their Milton Park office in Harare for comment, but we were referred to their Mutare office where Nyakudyara is based. A secretary there told us he was not in the office but promised to phone us back.
Some of the countries who provide funds for Plan International are the UK, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Canada, the US, Australia, the Netherlands, France, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and South Korea.