Zimbabwe: Law approved to control NGO activities

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A few months before the general elections, Zimbabwe has passed a law that places NGOs under government control, which can go as far as applying sanctions.

Approved by the House of Assembly in December, the law was passed on Wednesday evening and submitted to the president for approval before being implemented.

The vote comes a few months before the elections, the date of which has not yet been set, and against the backdrop of criticism from rights groups and parties against what they call “a government crackdown on opposition voices”.

Justifying the decision before the Senate, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the law is “a necessary measure to improve the accountability and transparency of charities”, adding that this measure will allow the state to avoid the risk of public NGOs being used as cover for tax evasion, money laundering, embezzlement.

Similarly, he insisted that this law prohibits civil society organisations from engaging in politics, while giving the government the right to control or modify their internal management and funding.

Organisations that do not comply with this law can face a prison sentence of one year, in addition to the closure of the organisation concerned.

Opposing the law, opposition senator Morgen Komichi called it “obscene”, stressing the crucial role of NGOs in supporting the economy in the field of health, education and food security.

Jihan Rmili

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