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This article participates on the following special index pages:
NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis
of NGO Bill hailed
majority of players in the non-governmental organisations sector yesterday
welcomed the need to regulate operations of NGOs although they said the
proposed law should be reviewed to help create a conducive atmosphere
for their operations.
The views of the NGO sector
were made known yesterday during a public hearing in Harare on the Non-Governmental
Organisations Bill conducted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
The proposed law will repeal
the Private Voluntary Organisations Act and establish a new Act that will
provide for an enabling environment for monitoring and regulating NGOs.
It seeks, among other things, to bar local organisations from receiving
any foreign funding or donation to carry out activities involving governance
Stakeholders were agreed that
there was need for regulation since this was the practice the world over,
but expressed concern over some of the clauses in the Bill, which needed
to be improved.
They were of the view that
there should be equal representation in the proposed 15-member NGO Council.
According to the Bill, the
council would be composed of five representatives from NGOs, nine senior
Government officials and the Registrar of NGOs who would be an ex-officio
Among the duties of the council
would be to register, conduct investigations into administration and activities
of NGOs and following such investigations, hear representations from the
organisations before taking appropriate disciplinary action.
The stakeholders agreed that
NGOs should select their own representatives to the council who would
then be approved by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social
They were of the view that
the term "governance" was too broad and there was need to define
what constituted governance. The stakeholders also noted that the term
"human rights" was too wide as this included issues of gender
equality and fighting for the rights of the physically disabled.
National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations (Nango) chairperson Mr Jonah Mudehwe said the proposed legislation
should guarantee an efficient registration process and operation of NGOs.
He said NGOs should be given
a transitional period of up to one year to regularise their operations.
Mr Mudehwe suggested that NGOs
should formulate their own code of conduct that would then be approved
by the proposed council.
Zimbabwe Aids Network co-ordinator
Ms Kate Mhambi-Musimwa said the proposed annual registration of NGOs would
compromise their programmes and suggested it be increased to at least
The registration, she said,
should be decentralised to cater for organisations operating in remote
A representative of the Zimbabwe
Federation of Trade Unions, Mr Charles Mlilwawa, said the Bill was long
overdue since some NGOs were now involved in clandestine activities.
He said some of the trade unions
in the country have been receiving foreign funding to promote certain
political agendas at the expense of advancing the interests of the workers.
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe
president Bishop Trevor Manhanga, whose organisation has been accused
of meddling in opposition politics under the guise of the church, said
while the Bill stipulated that its provisions would not cover religious
organisations, there was need for further clarification because the church
also dealt with issues of governance and human rights.
Government has already gazetted
the Bill following concerns that some NGOs were now diverting from their
core business by receiving foreign funding to destabilise the State.
Among some of the organisations
that made submissions to the committee were the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu), Padare Men’s
Forum and the National Society for the Care of the Handicapped (Nascoh).
The committee, chaired by Rushinga
MP Cde Lazarus Dokora (Zanu-PF), would compile a report on its findings
before tabling it in the House for deliberations. The other members of
the committee include Mufakose MP Ms Paurina Mpariwa (MDC), Gokwe West
MP Mrs Esther Nyauchi (Zanu-PF), Mpopoma MP Mr Milford Gwetu (MDC) and
Chief Joseph Hama of Midlands.
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