Democracy and human rights groups in Zimbabwe are concerned at current moves to curb the activities of NGOs deemed to engage in political activities. The National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO) has rejected plans by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labor and Social Services to amend laws regulating NGO operations.
Under the troubled power-sharing agreement, the Ministry of Justice is controlled by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, while the Ministry of Labor is managed by the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change. But both ministries apparently collaborated in drafting amendments to the Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) and Deeds Registries Act.
While the government portrays the amendments as technical readjustments to existing regulations, civil society groups believe the changes are an attempt to control independent groups that address human rights and governance issues.
As the recent Defending Civil Society report noted, the authorities in Harare have previously proposed legislation to prohibit NGOs engaged in governance issues from receiving foreign funds.