'Kazembe's NGOs threat dangerous'

HARARE - Acting Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Kazembe Kazembe’s threat to ban non-governmental organisations (NGOs) allegedly meddling in politics induces shock, threatens freedoms and has the potential to hamper development of the nation, an array of groups said yesterday.

The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) noted with concern threats by the acting minister, describing them as extremely dangerous, potentially crippling for civil society and potentially endangering to life.

Kazembe said: “The government has …noted with concern that some private voluntary organisations and or NGOs have negated their objectives and are now meddling in politics.

“Should these organisations continue with their behaviour the government will not regret to withdraw their registration certificates”.

There are fears that first victims of the threats would be NGOs that are traditionally active in the area of ensuring accountability and transparency of government to its citizens. 

Nango, which is the largest umbrella non-governmental organisation in Zimbabwe mandated by its membership to coordinate the activities of NGOs, represent the sector and strengthens its voice, said while Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) and NGOs should stick to their mandate as governed by Private Voluntary Organisations Act section 10, “we feel the threat to shut down NGOs can induce a sense of shock.”

“Rather we implore the government to continuously engage with NGOs to find common ground,” Nango said in a statement.

“NGOs play a critical role in providing checks and balances in governance and other sectors.

“The threat to ban them is therefore an infringement on the freedom of expression and that of association of NGOs and has the potential to hamper development of the nation.

“Nango reminds all registered PVOs to comply with the PVO Act that requires annual narrative and financial reports to be submitted to the Registrar of PVOs.

“Nango urges all NGOs to continue to diligently pursue the achievement of their objectives without fear and comply with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”


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