Under a cloud

ZIMBABWE's socialist government passed the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Act in July, to the consternation of the nation's NGO community. NGOs believe the Act will expose them to unnecessary restrictions and control by the government and open up channels for interference in their affairs.

Under the new law, the ministry of social welfare has acquired powers to remove NGO officials and blacklist any NGO in the "national interest", thus preventing them from operating in the country, "This creates an atmosphere of apprehension, uncertainty and insecurity as far as those of us in the NGO community are concerned," says Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairperson of Zim-rights, the Zimbabwean human rights Organisation.

The government cites increasing maladministration and corruption in the organisations - born out by accusations against them in the press and public fora - as the reason behind its move.(IFS)