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International News

Zimbabwe Lifts Ban on NGOs

June 18, 2008

Non-governmental organizations will be able to distribute food and AIDS drugs in Zimbabwe, reversing a blanket ban on NGO activities announced earlier this month, the country's state-run Herald newspaper today quoted the acting welfare secretary as saying.

Food programs will be allowed because they do not "entail community mobilization by NGOs," said Sydney Mhishi. The recent ban does not prevent AIDS patients from "accessing drugs and therapeutic feeding from clinics and hospitals," he said.

Earlier this month at a meeting in Rome on the global food crisis, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accused Western nations of seeking to overthrow his regime and channeling support to his political opposition through NGOs. On Monday, the Herald quoted Mugabe as saying NGOs had exploited food scarcity to mobilize voters against his government ahead of the March 29 elections.

In those elections, neither Mugabe nor opposition leader Tsvangirai captured an outright majority, triggering next week's run-off. However, Mugabe's party lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since 1980, when the country gained independence from Britain.

NGOs have been providing food and medicine to mostly rural areas in Zimbabwe, which is suffering from food shortages and the world's highest inflation rate.

Back to other news for June 2008

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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