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We haven't de-registered NGOs: State
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
May 08, 2007

GOVERNMENT has not de-registered non-governmental organisations as the new procedures for the registration of NGOs are only policy guidelines, a senior Government official said yesterday.

The statement comes in the wake of international media reports alleging that the Government had banned all NGOs operating in Zimbabwe.

Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Lancaster Museka said no NGOs had been de-registered.

"No NGOs have been de-registered. What we did is that we issued policy guidelines for the registration of NGOs," he said.

The international media has been awash with reports that the Government had de-registered the voluntary organisations.

Some sections of the media reported that the United Kingdom's House of Lords last week debated the alleged decision by the Government to ban all NGOs operating in the country.

Baroness Park of Monmouth was quoted as asking the Parliamentary under-secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Triesman, what measures the British government would take on the issue.

In response, Lord Triesman said: "My Lords, there have been conflicting reports on the current situation in Zimbabwe.

"Our understanding is that the reported new procedures for the registration of the NGOs do not appear to require established and registered NGOs to re-register."

The new registration procedures and requirements announced by the Government take cognisance of the difference in organisational backgrounds between local and international NGOs.

All local organisations are required to submit their applications through the District Social Service Office in the area where their headquarters is located.

The district social services officer is responsible for making the initial assessment of the organisation before forwarding the application to the head office of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

In the case of international NGOs applying for registration, they should have signed a memorandum of understanding with the relevant Government ministries in their area of technical operation.

The signed agreement, together with other documents that include a clearance letter by the International Police Organisation from the representative country, should then be submitted to the registrar of private voluntary organisations under the ministry.

Local private voluntary organisations are not required to enter into agreements with central Government or ministries.

Both local and international organisations whose applications are not recommended for registration by the PVO board are entitled to lodge an appeal to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

The minister reserves the right, after considering the reasons for the organisation's appeal, to either uphold the board's decision or instruct the registrar to register the appellant.

The registrar, in consultation with the PVO board, may cancel the registration certificate and de-register any organisation that fails to comply with its conditions of registration.

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