Early reports out of Zimbabwe (official government website) Saturday state that the goverment of that country is planning to add an amendment to the already controversial NGO bill that would expand the prohibition of international rights organizations to those involved in educating the public on anti-corruption programs and issues of public transparency and accountability. The Non-Governmental Organizations bill proposes to forbid international rights organizations from operating within the borders of Zimbabwe, as well as cutting government funding for those local organizations that attempt to 'influence governance issues.' The amendment defines 'governance issues' as identical for local groups as it is for international groups, as well as outlawing groups 'furthering and facilitating the interests or activities of a political party.'
The NGO bill was presented to Zimbabwe's Parliament this week and will be under consideration for the next week at least. The US State Department has issued a condemnation of the law, stating that it threatens the general elections to be held in the country in March of 2005. News 24 has more.