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This article participates on the following special index pages:
NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis
shut down of Independant Civic Society and humanitarian work in Zimbabwe
September 06, 2004
I have recently read
through the Non-Governmental
Organisations Bill. On the road that has been termed the road of the"
legal revolution" by one of the third chimurenga engineers, this
is a huge milestone.
It is important that
any one in any way involved in any organisation that is helping the old
people or the destitute or those that are hungry or sick or in prison
should read the proposed legislation and do something about it.
The bill starts by
saying that it is being proposed for "monitoring and regulation of
all non-governmental organisations". It defines an NGO as "any
foreign or local body or association of persons, corporate or unincorporate,
or any institution the objects of which include:
[a] the provision
of all or any of the material, mental, physical or social needs of persons
[b] the rendering
of charity to persons or families in distress;
[c] the prevention
of social distress or destitution of persons or families;
[d] the provision
of assistence in,or promotion of, activities aimed at uplifting the
standard of living of persons or families;
[e] the provision
of funds for legal aid;
[f] the prevention
of cruelty to, or the promotion of the welfare of, animals;
[g] the promotion
and protection of human rights or good governence;
[h] the promotion
and protection of environmental rights and interests and sustainable
A few exceptions are
then listed but in essence any independent body outside the State involved
with any of the noble and highly commendable activities outlined above
will be "monitered and regulated" by an NGO Council made up
of appointees by the Minister of Public Service Health and Social Welfare.
will have to pay this "council" for the priviledge of continuing
their good work. This will be on an annual basis at a sum that will be
will also have to have its registration determined by this council. This
involves a long process involving publishing details of the application
in a national newspaper within 30 days of the application to the Council
and then giving 60 days for a chance for anyone to object to your organisation
carrying out its noble activities. A registration certificate needs to
be obtained every year and the "Council may at any time cancel any
certificate of regitration".
Any person from an
organisation caught feeding the hungry or helping the widows or the orphans
or any other such illegal activity defined above without having been registered
will face up to 5 months imprisonment. Any person caught collecting contributions
for such work will face up to 6 months imprisonment.
"No local NGO
shall recieve any foreign funding or donation to carry out activities
involving or including issues of governance".
With the ink not yet
dry on the recent get togeather of the heads of state in the SADC region
in Mauritius and the assurence that the Zimbabwe election, and the democratic
space within Zimbabwe, would be open and free and fair, one wonders [if
those heads of State fail yet again to do anything about such draconian
legislation], whether such people know the meaning of such words.
The immortal words
of Jesus come to mind:
"For I was
hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave
me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed
clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was
in prison and you came to visit me.
"Then the righteous
will answer him, 'Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty
and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and
invite you in, or need clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick
or in prison and come and visit you ?
"The King will
reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least
of these brothers of mine,you did for me'.
"Then he will
say to those on his left 'depart from me, you who are cursed,into the
eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry
and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing
to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes
and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not
look after me.'
will answer, Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger
or needing clothes or sick or in prison,and did not help you?'
"He will reply,
'I tell you the truth ,whatever you did not do for one of the least
of these,you did not do for me'.
will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life'
For the legislators
who intend to vote this bill into law and by so doing obstruct those that
are trying to help those that are hungry and in need let them first read
this passage of scripture and be warned.
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