Veritas deplores the hate speech and the toxic divisiveness that has erupted in the news media and social media over accusations made against some prominent NGOs.
It is most unfortunate that this has happened just before elections, when not only the NGOs concerned but all civil society fear that their role in monitoring and promoting free and fair elections and assisting victims of election-based violence may be jeopardised.
As advocates of peace and tolerance and inclusivity in Zimbabwe, we deplore hate speech.
As providers of impartial and accurate information, we deplore the way that allegations against the NGOs have been treated as established facts. Allegations are just allegations until they are proved.
As promoters of the rule of law and justice, we believe that all sides have the right to due process and this should be followed in resolving the issues and that no one should rush to judgment until both sides of the story have been heard.
If we truly believe in human rights we need first to get accurate information and allow both sides a chance to be heard – otherwise we are no better than a lynch mob.
As a service to the public, Veritas is willing to put the statements of all parties on our website for everyone to read
Counselling Services Unit statement on suspension of funding by USAID
THE Counselling Services Unit (CSU) is registered as a health clinic in Zimbabwe to provide non-partisan medical and rehabilitation services to all victims of organised violence and torture in Zimbabwe. Since 2003 CSU has provided services to more than 25 000 victims throughout Zimbabwe in often adverse conditions.
The current distressing situation created by a unilateral termination of funding by USAID on the United Nations International Day for Victims of Torture before investigations of fund usage are complete, and the subsequent lack of communication from USAID despite written requests, and the blanket Embassy statements, innuendo and allegations are deeply distressing to the Board, staff and survivors of torture in Zimbabwe. At no time have funds been misappropriated; diverted or put to misuse by CSU, all funds are entirely committed to promoting the treatment, rehabilitation, safety and re-integration back into communities for survivors of torture.
CSU has annual audits by internationally credible audit firms appointed by the Board in agreement with USAID and has at no time had any adverse audits or questionable use of funds been raised, either by the audit firm or USAID or the Office of the Inspector General.
In the interests of transparency to both the Zimbabwe public who are beneficiaries of the services offered by CSU, and the American Public who are the donors to this program, the Board and management have resolved to make all the financial accounting and management of the funds open to inspection by any Zimbabwean or American citizen by appointment from today 4 July 2018.
It is our sincere hope that USAID will carry out investigations urgently with a view to re-instating the funding for the sake of the many clients who sorely need the medical treatment and counselling services. In the meantime, CSU will endeavour to continue to provide the best possible services, in recognition of the needs of our clients.
ZimRights statement on termination of contract by USAID
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) would like to make its position known regarding the termination of funding by USAID, which has affected programs targeting human rights promotion, voter/civic education and peace-building in many areas across the country, especially ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.
ZimRights is a non-governmental organisation which has been in existence and operating in Zimbabwe for 26 years registered with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare as a Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO).
The termination of USAID funding before investigations are complete and without furnishing specific reasons has come as a shock to the organisation’s board, staff, members across Zimbabwe and the general public who have been beneficiaries of the organisation’s programs. Requests by the ZimRights board to be furnished reasons which would be necessary to respond to the allegations that have now been thrown into the public domain have not been responded to.
ZimRights avows that at no time in its six-year relationship with USAID have funds been abused or misappropriated. all funds have been dedicated to promoting, defending and protecting human rights in the country.
Routine financial audit reports since the inception of ZimRights have been done by internationally reputable auditors. During the USAID partnership, the audits have been timely produced by USAID approved auditors who gave the ZimRights financial records a clean bill. ZimRights has always made publicly available in its annual reports the audited financial records. in light of the now widespread allegations, which have been peddled since the termination of funding by USAID, ZimRights would like to make it clear that its financial records and books are open for inspection and scrutiny by any member of the public, including those in the donor community.