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This article participates on the following special index pages:
NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis
Bill: ZLP calls for dialogue
Liberators Platform (ZLP)
August 27, 2004
has now gazetted the controversial Non-Governmental Organisation
to government, the Bill seeks to "repeal the Private Voluntary
Organisation Act and establish a new non-governmental organisation
Act which will provide for an enabling environment for the operations,
monitoring and regulation of all non-governmental organisations".
debate is raging in the media on the pros and cons of the Bill.
Government on the one hand is trying to justify its motive for coming
up with the Bill. On the other hand, NGOs are raising genuine concerns
which will impinge on their normal operations and activities.
of the NGO Council. There are more representatives from government
than from NGOs.
- Banning of
foreign funding for local NGOs involved in governance issues.
and scope of "governance".
government control and surveillance.
national debate in the media and elsewhere on a Bill before it comes
to Parliament is always a welcome development if the objective is
to get input from the public. The ideal result is an improved Bill
which takes the expectations and concerns of all stakeholders on
board in order to avoid amendments soon after enactment.
the case of the NGO Bill, over and above the public debate, the
two contending parties (government and the NGOs) need to engage
each other. Dialogue normally reduces tension and potential conflict.
It leads to compromise whereby both sides win and the nation benefits.
Most conflicts and wars since time immemorial have ended at negotiating
tables where compromises have been reached. Lancaster House talks
in 1979, which culminated in an independence settlement, are a good
ZLP is making a passionate appeal to government and NGOs represented
by NANGO to start genuine and honest dialogue on the NGO Bill with
a view to addressing each other’s concerns and reaching a compromise.
work of civic society organisations complements government’s efforts
in providing goods and services to the population, especially the
poor and vulnerable groups. NGOs have before and after independence
assisted millions of people who were detained, affected by epidemics,
droughts and floods as well as whose breadwinners were incarcerated.
They have built such infrastructure as schools and clinics, educated
many people and campaigned against human rights abuses by the Smith
activities involve all forms of national development, provision
of food, medicine, care for orphans, sick and aged, civic education
to empower the people with information, spiritual healing, human
rights awareness, economic and cultural empowerment, governance
issues etc. As such, NGOs are government’s partners in national
there are deviants and saboteurs, effective ways of dealing with
them should be found by both NGOs and government, hence the NGO
proposals that there should be:-
- A code of
conduct for NGOs.
like in such professions as health, law etc.
co-operation and regular consultation, government and civic society
can and will flush out deviants when discovered.
definition and scope of governance is as broad as to encompass virtually
everything all civic society organisations are engaged in.
liberation struggle was guided by principles and sacred values which
included justice, peace, respect for human rights, sovereignty,
independence, political tolerance, freedom of expression, of association
and of assembly, equality before the law, non-discrimination etc.
The ZANU (PF) government is a product of the war of liberation and
the liberation movements defined those principles and values which
should guide the nation today. The leaders of the liberation struggle
(who included the late Dr. Zvobgo) were visionaries who did a sterling
job of defining values, guiding the fighters and directing the war
effort towards independence and sovereignty.
government has a moral obligation to deal with the regulation of
NGOs in a fair, just, transparent and principled way. The millions
of Zimbabweans who survive on and/or benefit from NGO work look
to government and their Members of Parliament for hope and a bright
future. As people who derive their mandate from their constituents,
MPs should consult widely before passing the Bill.
call for dialogue cannot be over-emphasized.
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