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NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis
rights groups to challenge NGO law
January 27, 2005
Harare - Zimbabwe's
non-governmental organisations said on Thursday they would launch
a legal challenge against the constitutionality of a proposed law
barring foreign funding of local human rights groups.
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party used its comfortable majority in parliament
to pass the NGO bill last December, which will require human rights
groups working in the country to register with a state-appointed
the bill with harsh media and security laws they say are aimed at
muzzling opponents of Mugabe's government as Zimbabwe grapples with
a political and economic crisis widely blamed on its mismanagement.
A report by the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
(Nango), received by Reuters on Thursday, said its position on the
bill, which Mugabe has yet to make law, was "to reject it and
call for the government to repeal it".
are well advanced for a strong legal challenge to the constitutionality
of the act and to litigate on behalf of affected organisations and
individuals," the report said.
rights groups to step up a lobbying campaign in the southern Africa
region against the proposed law, saying the lack of "a free
and unrestrained civil society" would make it hard for voters
to make informed decisions in a parliamentary election due in March.
Mugabe, in power
since independence from Britain in 1980, has accused some NGOs of
working with Western countries to undermine his government, mainly
over its forcible redistribution of white-owned commercial farms
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