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NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis
Bill 2004 - A Bill that kills when Zimbabwe needs life
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe (NANGO)
August 13, 2004
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), representing
over 100 NGO's in Zimbabwe, is seriously concerned by the draft
NGO Bill that is expected to be tabled in Parliament soon. The bill
undermines the principles of cooperation, collaboration and participatory
development, which is the threshold of progressive development the
a signatory to various United Nations Charters, the African Union
and various SADC protocols, where it confirmed its willingness to
conform to the principles of accountability, good governance and
above all to facilitate the development of the citizens, which is
the focus of the Millennium Development Goals.
The NGO community
by virtue of its work collaborates with the Government at various
levels. It is at the backdrop of this relationship where NANGO and
its membership feel let down by the Government, especially where
the Bill is undermining the basic principles of a conducive NGO
operating environment namely:
The Bill itself
further compromises the relationship, which had been developed between
the government and the NGO sector with NANGO playing a facilitatory
between NGOs and Government
was the intention and hope of the Zimbabwean NGOs that the NGO Bill
would help promote a spirit of cooperation between the Government,
NGOs and donors for the public good. Unfortunately, the Bill is
actually undermining these intentions and as NANGO we fill let down
by our government in our efforts.
NGO proposal to the government had provided for a transitional period
to allow NGOs that are already in existence some time to register.
This proposal had been made to endure that the current work of NGOs
is not disrupted. However the Bill seeks to shut down all existing
NGOs, which are currently not registered in terms of the Private
Voluntary Organisations Act, until such a time that they would have
become registered in terms of the new law. As NANGO we believe that
there shall be huge losses of jobs, household incomes, services
to communities in a wide range of areas and not to mention income
tax loss to our country.
of NGOs on the NGO Council
draft Bill proposes to have a 15 member NGO Council as the regulatory
authority. Ten of these shall be representatives of government ministries
and only 5 shall be representatives of NGOs identified by the Minister.
We believe that the small number of NGO representatives undermines
the participation of NGOs in a body that is supposed to be an NGO
Council. An NGO Council is ordinarily expected to have the majority
of councillors coming from the NGOs representatives undermines the
participation of NGOs in a body that is supposed to be an NGO Council.
An NGO Council is ordinarily expected to have the majority of councillors
coming from the NGOs themselves. In essence what is being called
an NGO Council is actually a Government Board.
the nomination of these councillors from NGO organisations/associations
does not guarantee that NGOs can get people who can best represent
them to sit on the council.
Foreign funding for Human Rights work
fear that restrictions being imposed on the foreign funding for
human rights work is going to cut the bulk of funding to the NGO
sector, in a situation where there is no alternative local funding.
NGO Global discourse on development has now espoused a rights based
approach to development work. This is in terms of social, economic,
cultural, civil and political rights. We believe that this provision
is going to lead to a shut down of the NGO sector in Zimbabwe as
there is no local funding; neither does the bill make any provision
for the creation of a local fundraising base.
of NGOs work
are concerned with the provision that seeks to criminalize NGOs
that are currently operating lawfully but not yet registered as
Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Act due to frustrations created
by the protracted registration process of the current PVO Act. These
are the likes of Community Based Organisations, hundreds of AIDS
service organisations and Trusts. According to the draft Bill any
un-registered organisation in existence at the time this Bill is
passed into law should cease operations.
the above, as NANGO we believe that enactment of such a Bill will
do Zimbabwe more harm than good. It is our conviction as NGOs that
given the current socio-economic situation in the country where
70-80% of the population is surviving below the poverty datum line
and unemployment is hovering between 60-80%; where over one million
children are orphans and where 25% of the population is infected
by HIV/AIDS; the NGO sector is a safety net and hope that is providing
social safety nets to a lot of communities throughout the country.
The Bill is hitting on the ordinary men, women, and children who
are beneficiaries of the services of NGO interventions.
call on all concerned SADC members to take note of the implications
of this bill in terms of illegal cross border trading; economic
refugees; increased prostitution thereby spreading HIV and AIDS.
We fear that the regional migrations may create administrative,
economic and security challenges to our neighbouring countries.
We further implore
SADC member states and civic society to fully support the NANGO
drive towards a more conducive NGO operating environment in Zimbabwe
Visit the NANGO
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