NGO director meets Zimbabwean Parliament Speaker




New director of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Mr Thilo Nobert Schone

The new director of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Mr Thilo Nobert Schone has said it is within Zimbabwe’s rights how it wants to regulate Non-Governmental Organisations operating in the country.

Mr Schone, who has been in the country in the past two months, said this yesterday after he paid a courtesy call on Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda at his Parliament offices.

Responding to a question about his views on Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill that is before Parliament, he said NGOs needed a legal framework and he understood that his organisations’ partners had been engaging Parliament.

The Bill is meant to curb financial terrorism and money laundering by some NGOs as recommended by the Financial Action Taskforce, an inter-governmental organisation meant to curb money laundering.

Some NGOs have argued that the Bill will affect their operations through restricting their operating environment and providing “harsh” penalties that include jail terms of up to a year for those that break the law.

“The most important thing is that it’s within the legislative powers of this Parliament to decide how it wants to regulate its civil society,” said Schone.

“I think it’s very important to provide a legal framework for NGOs that work with the goal of fostering development and socio-economic development of this country.

“We are working with Government and non-governmental partners and some of our partners are registered PVOs and I think it’s very important that they can continue with their work in fostering the inclusion of all Zimbabweans and I think they have had a chance to engage Parliament to make this law as inclusive as it can be.”

Mr Schone said they had discussed the work they have done with Parliament and other areas they could collaborate.

“We have been in Zimbabwe since our invitation from the Government over 40 years ago and we have been working with Parliament on many issues, the Women’s Caucus, the youth and climate change and labour law, so I wanted to pay a courtesy visit to the Speaker to present to him our Foundation’s work and explore future endeavors together,” he said.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is the oldest political foundation in Germany founded in 1925 and its work focuses on the core ideas and values of social democracy, freedom, justice and solidarity. Herald.