PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has called on the rural folk to be on the look-out against some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that set base in communities with ulterior motives which have no benefit for the people.
In his address at the launch of the 2021/22 Pfumvudza farming programme in Gokwe recently, the President said Government is committed to the improvement of lives of people especially in rural areas which have been mostly marginalised.
However, the once marginalised communities are being taken on board as President Mnangagwa lives his promise that no place or area should be left behind in terms of development.
But as communities develop, there is always need for vigilance against some NGOs that are bent on interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal matters under the guise of humanitarian aid.
“Report any new NGOs to your Minister of State so that it is established whether the NGO is for the good or not. If you just accept such NGOs you end up regretting because some have ulterior motives and you may lend yourselves in trouble,” the President said.
The call by the President comes at a time when meddlesome NGOs, working closely with the opposition and some Western embassies have been abusing their status to interfere in the country’s domestic affairs to push for regime change.
This has prompted Parliament to come up with the Private Voluntary Organisation Amendment Bill which was gazetted last week.
The Bill seeks to, among other things, penalize NGOs that dabble in politics and which have previously been used by the US and other Western nations to fund regime change.
Already, and ahead of the 2023 polls, the US through USAID had set aside US$5 million to fund NGOs under the guise of promoting rule of law, constitutionalism, and democracy.
The Bill that was gazetted last week seeks to amend section 10 of the principal by the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (e) as follows — “(e1) when any private voluntary organization that supports or opposes any political party or candidate in a presidential, parliamentary or local government election or is a party to any breach of section 7 under Part III of the Political Parties (Finance) Act (Chapter 2:12) as a contributor of funds to a political party or candidate or otherwise shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or both such fine or such imprisonment.”
Government has in the past accused NGOs of abandoning their mandates by pursuing a political agenda in support of regime change.
Apart from barring NGOs from pursuing political lobbying the Bill’s Memorandum says the amendments are also being made, to comply with the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) recommendations made to Zimbabwe.
Further to this, it has also become necessary to streamline administrative procedures for private voluntary organizations to allow for efficient regulation and registration. -Herald