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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis

  • Report of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Public of Service, Labour and Social Welfare on the NGO Bill (HB 13, 2004)
    Parliament of Zimbabwe
    November 16, 2004

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    Read the NGO Bill
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    1.1 Mr Speaker sir, the stated object of this Bill is to provide for an enabling environment for the operations, monitoring and regulation of all non-governmental organisations. It is intended to ensure a more efficient means of operation for Non-Governmental Organisations.

    1.2 The sponsoring Minister must be commended for coming up with this Bill as its use will greatly provide protection against some rampant practices that had characterised the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) sector and allowed for unlawful activities to prevail. The NGO Bill introduces a regulatory framework for the operations of NGO activities. The principle of surveillance of NGO work is neither unique to Zimbabwe nor is it necessarily objectionable to the extent that it is consistent with regional and international standards. Protection of fundamental rights is the norm and limitation the exception.

    1.3 In that vein Mr Speaker sir, your committee embarked on consultations with various NGO's and their beneficiaries, culminating in a Public Hearing on the 7th of September 2004,conducting a mini-survey into the operations of NGO's and participating in a workshop aimed at sensitising Members of Parliament to the provisions of the NGO Bill. Your committee then carried out a consideration of the evidence it had gathered on the Bill, with a view toward strengthening it and making it a more understandable and practicable piece of legislation.

    1.4 Mr Speaker sir, the NGO Bill deals with several interlinked topics: the setting up of a Non-Governmental Organisations Council and office of Registrar; the registration and exemption of NGO's; the administration of NGO's as well as miscellaneous provisions on penalties and adjudication of disputes.

    1.5 Mr Speaker sir, your committee set out to consider how best the proposed Bill could be structured, taking into account the various socio-economic and political factors at play in the country at present as well as the culture and values of our people. The committee also considered the fact that we live in a complex global village and thus sought to come up with suggestions on strengthening and improving the application of the Bill that mirror the aforementioned.

    General commentray on Bill
    2.1 Mr Speaker sir, the role of the NGO sector in the economic and social development of communities has become increasingly important as societies the world over have been brought closer together by the effects of globalization. NGO's can be found in sectors dealing with food and nutrition; the fight against hunger and disease; child rights and health; human rights and good governance.

    2.2. Mr Speaker sir, your committee noted in its deliberations that NGO's by the very nature of their work are necessarily seized with the subject matter of human rights and humanitarian assistance. Indeed through consultations it was noted that their broad mandate ensures that they deal with the root causes of poverty, hunger and social and economic injustice. It was further noted that contemporary human rights discourse is premised on the unequivocal acceptance of the principles of indivisibility, interdependence and the universality of human rights. In this regard the two concepts of human rights and humanitarian assistance are intrinsically connected. Your committee noted that the contribution of NGO activities complements government efforts in various sectors.

    2.3. Mr Speaker sir, your committee considered all the individual clauses of the Bill in the aforementioned interest to insure that a solid piece of legislation is passed by this august House. A piece of legislation that is reflective of our values as a people and that meets the standards of international and regional best practice.

    Your committee therefore suggests that individual clauses and provisions of the Bill can be improved as indicated in this report.

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