Has Mnangagwa chickened out on the PVO Bill?


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It is now over a month since President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he was going to sign the Private Voluntary Organisations Bill despite protests from civil society and some United Nations experts.

“Foreigners must keep out, as we realise and fulfil our sovereignty through the laws we make for ourselves,” he wrote in the Sunday Mail on 19 February.

“On that score, no amount of foreign noises will stop the passing of the PVO law which, in any case, has gone through our Parliament comprising all the elected parties and representatives of our country.

“We do not enjoy democratic space or any of our freedoms through foreign NGOs; we enjoy them everyday in the very society we have founded and built through our own blood and struggles.

“This must sink in the minds of all those who solicitously involve themselves unduly in our legislative processes.

“Let me repeat: once the Bill is cleaned and sent to my Office, I will sign it into law. Speedily, too!”

The question is, has the bill not been cleaned up yet? Or has Mnangagwa softened down because of his engagement and re-engagement policy?

Changing his mind on the bill would be political suicide as it would show that he is not a man of how word, something everyone credited his predecessor Robert Mugabe for.

The PVO bill has been surrounded by a lot of misinformation from local non-governmental organisations which see their survival on the line.

People have been given the impression that if the law is passed this would affect social programmes that are being funded by NGOs.

Nothing can be further from the truth because the bill is not likely to affect any international organisations and inter-governmental organisations which provide the bulk of the aid to Zimbabwe.

The law, for example, will not affect organisations like the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Development Programme, the United National Children’s Fund, the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation, the Food and Agricultural Organisation or the World Food Programme, just to name a few.

It is not going to affect intergovernmental organisations like United States Agency for International Development.

It is not going to affect church relief organisations like Caritas, Care or Adra.

So who is making so much noise?

It is the peripheral organisations which get funds from some of these international organisations that are crying foul. 

In my view, it is time sanity was brought into the NGO sector because some people have devoted themselves to wake up every morning with one sole purpose: to demoralise the entire nation and everyone.
One observer said they had in fact become the footsoldiers of destabilisation.

Zimbabweans must ask, why does a country of 15.2 million people needs 3 000 NGOs?

Why does Zimbabwe need 75 NGOs to deal with crisis in the country?

Why does Zimbabwe need 37 NGOs to coordinate elections?

Why does Zimbabwe need 22 NGOs to look at human rights in the country?

Mnangagwa should make up his mind. There is too much free-for-all inthe NGO sector. It has become the easiest sector for anyone who wants to own a four-by-four and build a mansion.

(186 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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