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PVO Bill to curb aid abuse, corruption – The Zimbabwe Mail

An unemployed man reads up on Zimbabwean constitutional law to understand the process of possible presidential impeachment, in a park opposite the parliament building in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should acknowledge the nation’s “insatiable desire” for a leadership change and resign immediately, the recently fired vice president and likely successor to the 93-year-old leader said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)


There have been complaints from some sections of society, including from Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), political organisations and foreign embassies that the proposed Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill seeks to curtail the work of civil society and charitable organisations in the Zimbabwe.

By Chris Mahove

However, it should be noted that the purpose of this Bill is principally to curb corruption and money laundering , which is rampant among the Western sponsored NGO and civil society sector and general abuse of aid by civil society organisations (CSOs) and the NGOs.

A number of NGOs and CSOs have departed from their core mandates and are now involving themselves in politics and pushing for unorthodox means of changing the government.

In essence, NGOs and CSOs have been used by Western countries as conduits for illegal regime change, especially in the context of colour revolutions that have succeeded in Eastern Europe, and have been attempted elsewhere.

Apart from getting money to finance the opposition directly and indirectly from Western countries and their governments or groups such as the Open Society Foundations run by George Soros, the NGOs have been used as parallel governments in distributing aid when the capacity of Government has been curtailed.

In this arrangements, donors claim that they fund the NGOs on behalf of local people.

If this were true, it is a legitimate concern to scrutinise, regulate and control as well as seek transparency by the NGOs and CSOs as they purport to represent the people.

There have been numerous cases of financial aid abuse globally and locally, that the US or Western countries never raise or are too embarrassed to reveal.

It is for this reason that countries, including the USA, put in place laws to govern these non-government organisations.

The passing of the PVO Bill will allow the government to legally and effectively monitor the activities of these NGOs on the ground.

It is surprising that countries such as the USA, through its Embassy in Harare, can call on the Government of Zimbabwe to withdraw the proposed Bill saying it seeks to bar Non-Governmental Organizations from political lobbying.

The Bill, approved by the Zimbabwe Cabinet in August/September 2021, was promulgated to meet the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations and the need to prohibit NGOs from involvement in politics.

The Bill amends the Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05] to align it with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations made to Zimbabwe, as a member,  in order to develop policies to combat money laundering.


More specifically, the PVO Amendment Bill seeks to comply with FATF recommendations under technical compliance raised under Zimbabwe’s Mutual Evaluation Report which saw Zimbabwe placed under a monitoring programme in October 2018 by the FATF.

This was done so that the country would align its laws on private voluntary organisations to recommendation 8 which provided that private voluntary organisations can be abused by money launderers and terrorist financiers and that as such, there was need to have clear laws that set out a framework to prevent any potential abuse in key sectors.

In 2018, we all saw how many of the so called democracy champions in the country were busy siphoning money from NGO’s for their personal enrichment at the expense of the purported beneficiaries.

The USAid at some point suspended a number of NGOs after its leaders abused donations meant for various programmes. Among these organisations are the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Counselling Services Unit (CSU) and the Election Resource Centre (ERC).

The organisation went on to report the matter to the USAid office of the inspector-general, an arm responsible for investigating fraud and the abuse of funds in its programmes.

Even the US Embassy acting public relations officer at the time acknowledged there had been misuse of US funding by local Zimbabwean partners who diverted the funds from their intended use.

While these NGOs purport to be champions of good governance and democracy, they are at the forefront of vices such as money laundering and fraud, which is why it is necessary for the country to have a law that governs their operations.

Even in the United States, the country has put in place laws that, among other things, seek to prevent charitable fraud.

There are more than 40 states in the USA which have laws regulating charities and require registration before soliciting donations.

There have also been fraud and money laundering cases in NGO’s in the USA, including large organisations. The $1.5 million of employee theft at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, $43 million of improper payments to grantees at The Global Fund, and a $26 million endowment write-off at New York University due to a fraudulent investment manager are some of the examples.

Because many of these organisations would not largely divulge information on cases of fraud for fear of losing funding, it therefore, becomes governments’ obligation to ensure that these organisations are run transparently and that the money they receive from donors is not used for sinister purposes such as sponsoring terrorism or fighting legitimately elected governments.

And the PVO Bill does just that.


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Politics

Chief declares Zhombe no-go area for Zimbabwe opposition – Bulawayo24 News

ZHOMBE traditional leader, Chief Samuel Samambwa, has declared the district a no-go area for opposition political parties, but complained that successive Zanu-PF governments have failed to electrify his homestead.

Speaking during the commissioning of Sherwood Clinic recently, the traditional leader said the opposition was not going to get any votes from his area, declaring it a preserve of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

He insisted that his subjects would vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa in next year’s general elections.

Chief Samambwa pledged his loyalty, and that of his subjects to Zanu-PF, in the presence of Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister, Larry Mavhima.

“Minister, I want you to take this message to President and tell him that he has our support here in Zhombe. He must be rest assured that the opposition is not going to get anything in Zhombe; that is a Zanu-PF stronghold,” he said.

President Mnangagwa owns a thriving farming enterprise in Sherwood Block, just a few kilometres from Zhombe.

The farming enterprise falls under Samambwa’s jurisdiction.

The Chief however, took opportunity of the event to lash out at government for failing to instal electricity in his village.

“I want to tell the minister that I don’t have electricity at my place. I need electricity, the minister must, therefore, look into that issue,” he said.

Local traditional leaders stand accused of helping coerce their subjects to vote for Zanu-PF in contravention of constitutional provisions clearly stating that they must not leaders must not “be members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan politics … act in a partisan manner (or) further the interests of any political party or cause”.

Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs president Fortune Charumbira has been defiant over the issue, declaring that “Chiefs will never leave Zanu-PF’.

“On behalf of all chiefs in this country, I want to tell you that we are together. It’s true we are together. We are behind you. I want to repeat this because there are people who ask us why we come here,” Charumbira told Zanu-PF’s annual conference in 2021.

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South Africa’s beleaguered Zuma open to return to politics – New Zimbabwe.com

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By Associated Press


JOHANNESBURG: Beleaguered former South African President Jacob Zuma says he is ready to make a surprise return to politics by standing for a top position at the ruling African National Congress’ elective conference in December — if he is nominated by party members.

The 80-year-old Zuma was president from 2009 to 2018 before he was forced to resign amid wide-ranging allegations of corruption in government and state-owned institutions.

He was sentenced to 15 months in prison last year for defying a court order to testify at a judicial commission investigating corruption during his tenure, and has since been released on medical parole. Zuma is also facing trial for corruption in a separate case involving a major arms deal the South African government was negotiating more than 20 years ago, around the time Zuma was a deputy president of South Africa.

In a statement released late Monday, Zuma said he had been approached by some ANC members to consider contesting for the position of party chairman at the end of the year.

“I have indicated that I will be guided by the branches of the ANC and that I will not refuse such a call (to contest for the chairman position) should they deem it necessary for me to serve the organization again at that level or any other,” Zuma said.

The party meeting at the end of the year will be crucial to the future of current President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is facing stiff opposition to be re-elected ANC leader and stay on as the country’s president.

Zuma has been critical of his successor and the pair are seen to be part of opposing factions within a divided ANC.

Zuma also endorsed his ex-wife, current government minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to contest for the position of president of the ANC against Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa’s position has been weakened by his struggle to get a grip on corruption, a scandal of his own involving a large amount of cash stolen from his ranch, and an ongoing electricity crisis that has recently left Africa’s most developed economy in power blackouts for up to 10 hours a day.

Zuma is still popular among some factions of the ANC and at grassroots levels in some regions, but it’s unclear how he would deal with an ANC rule that anyone facing criminal charges may not stand for leadership positions. The rule also demands that those occupying leadership positions should “step aside” from their positions if they are charged.

The corruption charges Zuma faces are linked to a 1999 arms deal, and the case covers a time when he was a political figure on the rise and then deputy president. He is accused of receiving bribes from French arms manufacturer Thales to provide political protection for the multi-billion dollar deal. Zuma has denied the charges and has moved to have the prosecutor taken off the case, claiming he is biased.

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Politics

UK: Opposition MP apologises for calling finance minister ‘superficially’ black – New Zimbabwe.com

NewZimbabwe.com – The Zimbabwe News You Trust is Zimbabwe’s leading online newspaper and published by New Zimbabwe Media Ltd.

The platform brings you the latest breaking News, Business, Showbiz, Sports, Diaspora and gives you everything you’ve come to expect and love. Our Forums are vibrant and gives everyone a chance to be heard. On your computer, tablet smart phone or on our App its quick, easy and free access all the news you love.

NewZimbabwe.com is updated continually with the latest news to help you feed your addiction with stories & photos from Zimbabwe and many more!

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