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NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis
Bill will hit hard vulnerable groups, parliamentary committee told
September 08, 2004
HARARE - HIV/AIDS,
church and student organisations yesterday told a parliamentary
committee that a proposed law to regulate Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs) in Zimbabwe could see humanitarian assistance to the country
The groups told Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare that banning foreign assistance to NGOs
as proposed under the new law will only help cut aid to the most
vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe.
The committee is hearing submissions on the NGO Bill that is expected
to be passed into law when Parliament resumes next month.
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) president Philina Zamchiya
said: "A number of students are beneficiaries of foreign assistance
through scholarships and sponsorships, the NGO Bill will close avenues
Zamchiya told the committee that he had himself benefited when an
NGO operating in Zimbabwe helped raise money from foreign donors
to pay for treatment of injuries he incurred when he was tortured
by state security agents.
The Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference (ZNPC), which is a grouping
of religious ministers from various denominations, said the Bill
will further reduce democratic space in Zimbabwe.
"We strongly advocate for a fundamental revision of the Bill, which
should be influenced by the understanding of democracy and civil
society reflected in the newly adopted SADC election guidelines,"
said the ZNPC official.
The committee will take submissions by various stakeholders to Parliament
for consideration when it reviews the controversial draft Bill.
Under the Bill, civic groups will be required to register with a
government-appointed commission. NGOs will be barred from receiving
money from foreign donors to fund work related to human rights and
Civic activists say the Bill could force more than 90 percent of
NGOs in the country to close down.
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