Proposed Zimbabwean Law Would Restrict Direct Foreign Funding to Local NGOs Working To Fight HIV/AIDS
The Zimbabwean Parliament in October is expected to pass a bill that would restrict nongovernmental organizations -- including HIV/AIDS advocacy groups -- from receiving direct funding from any organization that employs even one person who is not a resident or citizen of Zimbabwe, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The bill is viewed as an attempt by the ruling party to influence upcoming parliamentary elections, according to the Monitor. "According to [the bill], the church must beg them for permission to help people. They want to control everything so then they can exclude people who don't belong to their party," Pius Ncube, Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, said. Arnold Tsunga, director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said that the bill essentially would allow the government to shut down almost any NGO, according to the Monitor. The National Association of Nongovernmental Organizations in Zimbabwe, which "stridently" opposes the bill, estimates that 70% to 80% of Zimbabweans are poor, 25% are HIV-positive and one million Zimbabwean children are orphans, the Monitor reports. The government has "turned its eye" to nongovernmental aid groups, accusing them of promoting foreign values and "furthering anti-Zimbabwean interests," according to the Monitor. A release from Zimbabwe's Ministry of Public Service said: "The mischief which (the) government wants to (get) rid (of) is that of foreign donors employing local puppets ... to champion foreign values, much to the detriment of national security" (Itano, Christian Science Monitor, 8/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.