US CUTS FUNDING TO ZIMRIGHTS, ERC

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US CUTS FUNDING TO ZIMRIGHTS, ERC

The United States through Usaid has cut funding to several civil society organisations ahead of July 30 elections.

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Usaid said investigations had exposed non-compliance with set principles, and gross abuse of funds. The affected NGOs include Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Election Resource Centre (ERC) and Counselling Services Unit (CSU). ERC has been forced to pull down its election Command Centre.

ZimRights director Mr Okay Machisa yesterday confirmed to The Herald that the US had suspended funding. “They (USAID) have communicated with us in terms of not moving ahead,” he said.

“However, I don’t think that is very correct to say we have abused any funds. We have not abused any donor funds. You have raised issues of non-compliance but it does not mean abuse of funds. It means you might have submitted reports late, made false reports or abused their facilities.”

ERC chairperson Mr Trust Maanda also confirmed the development, saying they were engaging USAID. “They wrote us a letter like that, saying they were cutting aid to us,” he said.

“But their letter said they had not concluded their investigations. So, what it means is when they wrote that letter they wrote it on the basis of their investigations, which are yet to be concluded. We haven’t yet been able ourselves to see the report on which they base their conclusion. We are handling the matter.”

Mr Maanda said they had complied with all set requirements.

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