President Robert Mugabe today threatened to ban humanitarian organizations from operating in Zimbabwe. Calling these nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) "a type of government in the background of a formal government," Mugabe questioned the "advisability of having NGOs" remain in the country.As PHR reported in its January 2009 report, Health in Ruins: A Man-Made Disaster in Zimbabwe, Mugabe's
policy of restricting food aid to areas that support the opposition party … has persisted and was used during the recent 2008 elections…. ?This restriction of food became most blatant in June through August 2008, when the Mugabe government banned all charitable organizations from distributing food or from operating in Zimbabwe's rural areas.
Banning NGO operations and politicizing humanitarian aid in Zimbabwe is the surest way to deteriorate people's health. ?Such myopic action would also quash any hope for a resolution to the current crisis.