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Noose tightened on “Greedy” NGOs

Dar es Salaam: President Jakaya Kikwete has asked the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children to devise mechanisms to monitor resources dished out to NGOs. Mr Kikwete said he was irked that most of resources allocated to the NGOs do not reach to intended beneficiaries.

"We don't want to interfere in their operations but we are concerned that there are huge resources channelled through them, but they do not reach to intended beneficiaries. Some NGOs have turned out to be schemes of profiteering rather than helping those in needy of the assistance," he said. "While I was in Makete District sometime back, orphaned children there complained that they were hardly benefiting from many NGOs operating there. We should ensure that there is a mechanism in place to monitor their resources,"he noted.

Briefing the president earlier, the Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Ms Sophia Simba, said the ministry had through the National NGO's Council, put in place a code of conduct to guide their activities. As the minister was reading the statement, Mr Kikwete intervened and queried on who was responsible to monitor their funds.

The Co-coordinator of NGOs in the ministry, Mr Marcel Katemba, told the president of how hard it is to take the organisations to task. "In most cases, they receive resources directly from donors and this makes it impossible to trace the trail," he said.

And the fact that some of NGOs register with other state organs namely the Ministry of Home Affairs, Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA), as well as the Business Registration and Licensing Authority (BRELA), which makes it difficult for the ministry to oversee their operations. "There are some NGOs registered as nonprofit making organisations at BRELA. Our mandate does not allow us to make follow ups on them," the official said.

He also hinted on how some of the organisations were undermining the National NGO's Council by frustrating its efforts to seek funds for capacity building.

The head of state also urged the ministry to change mindsets of elders and communities in general of the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM). "Bad habits die hard. We need to change themindset of the people and this will possibly address the problem," he said.

Describing the practice as ‘cruel and outdated,' Mr Kikwete said the practice had been established along cultural beliefs in some areas of the country, noting that the mindset shift was the likely remedy. "At one time I was so disappointed while in Musoma on learning that some fellows I knew to be well educated and holding leadership position was also sending daughters for the cruel practice. When I asked him, he admitted and argued that it was part of their culture," Mr Kikwete narrated.

With the number of street children and beggars in most urban areas on the rise, Mr Kikwete called for measures to provide them with decent shelter. "I am so concerned with increased number of street children, what is worse is that some of the children go on for begging with their mothers. These people should be provided with shelters," he directed.