The tragedy of NGOs singing for their supper

05 Sep, 2019 - 00:09 0 Views

The Herald

Johnson Gonorenda Correspondent
The world over — the question of balance between equitable and sustainable resource exploitation has become central.

The emergence in our time of matters such as greenhouse carbon emissions and competing theories on global warming, its causes, effects and extent and, more importantly, methods put forward for arresting the said pace of global warming have become key topics of global policy and a need for global solutions.

In this regard we have seen global incoherence on the way forward. The United States, in particular, has at one point alongside other global powers such as Germany, Britain, France and Canada proposed stringent policy proposals to arrest global warming.

However, in the age of President Trump, the US has been putting a massive handbrake to so-called environmental initiatives and this has frustrated her allies.

President Trump favours maximum resource exploitation to gain advantage for current employment, etc. There is also a massive question of politics and security manipulation in this field and here lies a great concern.

In Zimbabwe we continue to see an influx of so-called non-governmental organisations seemingly lecturing our body politic on policies for which even superpowers are taking a pause in order to sustain growth equity and ensure their singular economic and national security.

So when NGOs such as one named Green Energy Resources Trust (GERT) are used more as local pawns to continue to marginalise us, then we must treat such organisations as enemies of our national security.

Citing the looming threat of global warming as an excuse, GERT’s executive secretary, Mr Kidrow Marowa, recently called for greater international monitoring and external involvement in local resource exploitation.

We gather that the same foundation and its leaders are due for a meeting with their handlers in Canada.

His possible return to our shores armed with any such regressive agendas meant to monitor us and plunder us must be monitored.

There are grounds to consider taking action of various kinds against clear national security threats.

We have previously witnessed such mischief from an outfit called the Centre for Natural Resource Governance fronted by one Farai Maguwu, who led a foreign and opposition-sponsored campaign to have Zimbabwe barred from selling its diamonds on the spurious grounds that the country was not compliant with the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

Maguwu was a guest speaker at many international fora where he averred that the Zimbabwean Government was not supposed to benefit from the sale of the so-called “blood diamonds” and went on to present concocted and unsubstantiated reports of gross human violations in Marange.

Maguwu quickly found an accomplice in Shamiso Mtisi of the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers’ Association (ZELA), who joined the lobby against Zimbabwean diamonds with claims that diamond mining activities were causing massive environmental degradation and threatening human and animal life in the Save catchment.

It would later emerge that this lobby was being sponsored by external actors determined to swing the intense political competition between ruling Zanu-PF party and the then MDC-T, in the opposition’s favour.

The motive was to prevent an economic recovery underpinned by diamond sales which would inevitably result in Zanu-PF maintaining its grip on power and governance.

That the Maguwu-Mtisi campaign eventually became a lost cause is now a matter of public record as the Zimbabwean Government was allowed to sell its diamonds after satisfying the requirements of the KPCS.

This was achieved with the help of well-meaning local NGOs who included the Resource Exploitation Watch.

Conscious of the need to protect the environment from all kinds of threats, the Government of Zimbabwe has a fully-fledged ministry and several departments and agencies that are tasked with ensuring there is no terrestrial and atmospheric harm to the space its citizens live in.

Although not adequately resourced, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has been identifying organisations falling foul of various environmental ordinances and some of them have been punished.

Having demonstrated its capacity and commitment to protecting the environment, the Government should resist attempts by shadowy outfits like Marowa’s GERT to usurp its constitutional mandate.

No foreign actors should be allowed to plunder our God-given wealth under the guise of promoting sustainable resource exploitation. However, well-meaning foreigners willing to partner and fund local researchers in exploring ways of better managing the environment, should be welcomed.

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