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NGO Bill to be retabled
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
May 19, 2005

THE Non-Governmental Organi-sations (NGO) Bill will soon be retabled in Parliament for the House to address issues raised by President Mugabe before it is signed into law, a Cabinet minister has said.

The Bill, which was passed by Parliament last December, sought to provide for an enabling environment for the operations, monitoring and regulation of NGOs.

In an interview on Monday, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Cde Nicholas Goche, said stakeholders were being consulted with a view to addressing the issues raised by President Mugabe.

"The NGO Bill was sent to the President for assent and he did not do so because of one or two issues he wanted to be addressed," he said.

"It will now be retabled before Parliament for further consideration and consultations with stakeholders are going on to have the issues raised by the President addressed."

The remarks by the minister put to rest speculation from various quarters regarding the fate of the Bill.

According to the Constitution, the President has 21 days to assent to a Bill or withhold his assent upon presentation to him by Parliament.

"Where the President withholds his assent to a Bill, the Bill shall be returned to Parliament and, subject to the provisions of sub-section 3b, the Bill shall not again be presented for assent," reads section 51 (3a) of the Constitution.

The proposed law sought to make NGOs accountable after it emerged that some had been set up to serve selfish interests of individuals.

It also provides for NGOs to work in consultation with their line ministries and account for all funding received from international donors.

Last year, NGOs failed to account for at least US$89 million received from donors, a large chunk of which was believed to have been channelled towards programmes meant to destabilise the country. The Bill was passed after a protracted debate between Zanu-PF Members of Parliament who supported it while the MDC legislators opposed.

It sought to, among other measures, bar foreign donations to organisations involved in governance issues.

The First Session of the Sixth Parliament of Zimbabwe is set to resume sitting next month.

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