Sweden Embassy refutes claims of funding withdrawal over PVO Bill

The Embassy of Sweden has denied claims in a recent media report that it has withdrawn funding from the Legal Resource Foundation (LRF) due to the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Bill.

Responding to the media report, Dr Berthollet B. Kaboru, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden, denounced the information as “entirely false.”

“The Embassy of Sweden would like to officially state that the information presented in the article is both malicious and totally divergent from the truth. This is totally false information which the Embassy wants to categorically dismiss,” said Dr Kaboru. 

Dr Kaboru clarified that the recent agreement between the Embassy and LRF expired in March 2024, and both parties were aware of this.

“For over a decade, the Embassy has supported LRF with agreements lasting three to four years. The most recent agreement expired in March 2024. All partners understand that agreements are not automatically renewed. Renewal depends on several factors, including funding availability, the Embassy’s strategic focus areas, and the results achieved over the years.”

Dr Kaboru emphasised that the decision not to renew the agreement with LRF, along with other partner organisations, is unrelated to the ongoing parliamentary deliberation on the new PVO Bill.

“The decision to not renew agreements with LRF and other partner organizations is not related to the PVO Bill deliberations,” he explained. “It’s driven by a strategic need to explore new focus areas, particularly Economic Empowerment and Environment and Climate Change.”

“The Embassy is currently engaged in productive dialogue with several government ministries regarding its current strategic focus in supporting Zimbabwe’s development efforts,” he added.

Furthermore, Dr Kaboru clarified that the Embassy has no authority to relocate or enter into agreements with entities outside of Zimbabwe.

“Contrary to the article’s assertion, the Embassy has no mandate to relocate or enter into agreements with entities outside Zimbabwe. Swedish Embassies in Zimbabwe and Zambia operate under separate strategies that determine their operations in each country.”

The Embassy also clarified that Sweden has not directly funded court construction projects in the country, although they have had positive working relationships with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) through programs implemented by their partners.

Reaffirming its commitment to development aid, the Embassy pledged to continue supporting efforts aimed at alleviating poverty and improving living conditions for the people of Zimbabwe within the country’s legal framework.

“The Embassy of Sweden remains committed to development aid and pledges to support efforts aimed at alleviating poverty and improving living conditions for the people of Zimbabwe, within the confines of the country’s laws,” Dr Kaboru concluded.

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