Matebeleland NGOs at loggerheads

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MATABELELAND Collective (MC) — a network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and clergy operating in the region — has split over deepening squabbles.

The breakaway CSOs, numbering 17, have since formed a new coalition known as the Matabeleland Forum.

Woza

These include the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation, Bulawayo Habakkuk Trust, Residents Association (Bpra), Women Institute for Leadership Development (Wild), Centre for Innovation Technology (Cite), Christian Legal Society and Community Youth Development Trust.

Other CSOs that walked from the Matabeleland Collective led by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leader Jenni Williams include Emthonjeni Women’s Forum, Ibhetshu Likazulu, Masakheni Trust, National Youth Development Trust, South Western Gender Network Trust, Tree of Life, Ukuthula Trust, Victory/ Siyanqoba Trust, Women’s media for Development Foundation and Zimbabwean Christian Alliance also split from MC.

Speaking at a press briefing, Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation director Mthulisi Hanana said over the last nine months, the breakaway CSOs have with little success, explored all available avenues of conflict resolution within the Matabeleland Collective, adding that the network has drifted away from its original mandate and structure.

“Regardless of all such noble efforts, decision-making within the Matabeleland Collective continues to be limited to a few limited self-appointed individuals even though the impact of such decisions affect all the members.

“We… have agreed to reorganise ourselves into a non-partisan loose coalition of CSOs that are promoting genuine debate on the historical experiences and current developments that are pertinent to Matabeleland region.

“It is in this spirit that we disassociate ourselves from the Matabeleland Collective as the grouping has derailed from its original values of accountable leadership, acknowledgement of equality, inclusivity and autonomy amongst its members,” the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation director said.

He said there were no genuine efforts to deal with concerns by members on the proposed formal registration of the organisation as well as the alleged capture of Matabeleland Collective by partisan elements outside it.

“Consequently, we have resolved to alternatively form the Matabeleland Forum and commit ourselves to the pursuit of a genuine engagement on the issues raised in the compendium, in particular genuine process of truth recovery, healing, justice and reparation for those communities and individuals affected by the Gukurahundi Genocide. This should be a truly consultative process involving all the partners and all those affected,” said Hanana.

He said the new Matabeleland Forum has committed itself to the full implementation of devolution of power as contained in the Constitution. In a bid to promote genuinely inclusive leadership, Hanana said Matabeleland Forum will rotate its leadership.

Internal divisions have rocked MC since it met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Bulawayo State House in March last year over Gukurahundi massacres.

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