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The relationship between NGOs and the state in Zimbabwe - English summary
Hussein Nosair
December 19, 2009

This study is divided into three chapters; Clearing at the outset a preliminary theoretical framework to examine the relationship between NGOs and the State, The first chapter deals with the determinants and the development of relationship between NGOs and the State in Zimbabwe. This chapter has been divided into three sections, covering in the first section the internal parameters of the relationship between NGOs and the State through making highlight on the constitutional and legal determinants, and the determinants of political, economic and social conditions. The second section shows the determinants of Foreign Affairs of this relationship through the presentation of the most important determinants of regional and international data, as all necessarily affects the relationship between them since independence. As shown in the third part, the evolution of the relationship between NGOs and the State, from the beginning of the containment and voluntary integration between them in the period between 1980-1995, to the exclusion of Non-Government Organizations in the process of forced assimilation of them since 1995 due to shifting their development program to political action. Chapter II illustrates the relationship between Non-Government Organizations and the legislative authority through two sections, the first section illustrates the role of NGOs in the Parliament through showing the activities of the governmental Committee to supervise elections and their impact on the process of monitoring the parliamentary elections, and the role of Zimbabwe network of Election Support (ZESN), as one of the leading Non-Government Organizations working in the field of election monitoring and has an influential role on the electoral process. The second section illustrates the extent to which the capacity of NGOs to influence parliament through attendance at meetings of the public hearing committees, which are deemed an application of the interaction between parliament and the organizations that allows them to give an advisory opinion on draft laws submitted by the Government through the stages of discussion to the Parliament. Examples of those legislation are; draft NGOs law in 2004, amending the election law in the same year, and the amendment of the Employment and Communications law in 2006. Chapter III deals with the relationship between Non-Government Organizations and the executive branch through two sections, The first illustrates the role of Non-Government Organizations in the constitutional amendments since independence and their vision of the draft constitution prepared and hoped to put to a referendum as consequence of the power-sharing agreement signed in 2008. This section also clarifies the role of those organizations in the executive elections, which include presidential and local elections and their relationship to the local government. The second section explains some of the policies of the executive power towards Non-Government Organizations through viewing practices of the executive power against them. Finally, it shows the power-sharing agreement and a vision of the future relationship between the coalition government and NGOs, then the study is wrapped up with the most important results.

The Results of the Study

The study concludes that not only the role of NGOs is influencing and being influenced by public policy of the State, it has more interactions in all elections held in the country since independence, including presidential, legislative elections, and constitutional referendums. NGOs played a role in the process of political polarization and pushing the electorate to vote for opposition parties, which was established mostly through Non-Government Organizations after its alliance with trade unions and church groups. As a result, the movement for Democratic Change held government power on the shoulders of those organizations after the signing of power-sharing agreement in 2008. Although The tense of relationship between NGOs and the State doesn't reduce the size of the achievement, which organizations have managed to accomplish, and what Zimbabwe NGOs achieved from an unprecedented development in African countries on the process of democratization is worthy of attention. Despite the obstacles and challenges created by government legislation on their way, some of those organizations have been described by the ruling regimes of being one of the most important tools of Western foreign policy and a channel for foreign interventions in the country. However, NGOs still insist on playing an active role in the activities of governance, democracy and a constitutional amendment in which it must be provided for the freedom of composition and work, and for limitations to be balanced with the rules of democracy in the framework of respect human rights by the state. However, with the continued state of tension prevailing in the country and not to start the executive steps to amend the constitution and the implementation of the remaining items of power-sharing agreement, we can say that there are two possibilities of the political impasse between NGOs and the State in Zimbabwe:

The First Possibility: The movement for Democratic Change has to comply with what is imposed by Western countries to make the working Non-Government Organizations in the country, the main partner of the development process of political, economic and social development at the expense of ZANU-PF who controls the most powerful part of the coalition government. Specially, that both of Non-Government Organizations and the Movement for Democratic Change are still carrying similar agendas based on the principles of Western capitalism, and NGOs are the only entities, at this stage, that can get adequate western funds and grants to be redistributed to development projects instead of the government. According to this possibility, the Non-Government Organizations would be able to have the capacity to pass amendments to remove all restrictions on the way drafting the new Constitution, particularly with regard to self-censorship of performance, and without necessity to enact other legislation beside the constitution.

The Second Possibility: The gap in the dispute, which began between NGOs and the coalition government because of the insistence of Western countries to give those organizations the role of distributive resources of the State instead of the government will be broaden. In addition, the rejection of the United States and Britain to carry out their pledges to support the Government to re-finance the Fund to Buy the Land from White Owners and to compensate them rather than to be nationalized. Consequently it is expected that the Movement for Democratic Change, in collaboration with ZANU-PF, will take an opposite direction to the efforts of donor countries, and not to allow NGOs to work as agents and channels for Western countries to serve their interests and intervene in the affairs of the country at the expense of the development process. Moreover, not to give NGOs the power to grant, withhold and to dictate on the regime, and stand against attempts to marginalize the role of the government coalition that the Movement for Democratic Change had fought for until gaining the power. In addition, it's expected- according to this possibility- that the Government would activate the draft of NGOs law which was passed by Parliament in 2004 and was refused ratification by the president alternative sources of funding must be done to save the country from economic collapse caused by Western countries, which continue to use white groups as a pretext to interfere in the affairs of the state.

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