The Sunday Mail
Every country has a right to determine its future. In Zimbabwe, that right is sacred as it came at a very heavy price.
Many of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters paid this price with their blood and life.
We carry scars of the valiant struggle that culminated in our Independence to this day. It defines who we are as a people.
One critical fact that is often lost is that we fought a seemingly intractable struggle, which dragged for over 14 years, and for a reason. Those who were exploiting our minerals and using us as draught power had found a happy and prosperous home they thought would last to eternity.
And the silencing of guns in 1980, which ushered in political freedom, did not mean that interest faded. It didn’t!
Our bountiful resources, including the world’s most sought-after minerals such as lithium, platinum and rare earths, and our strategic position in SADC makes our country the holy grail of neo-liberal interests whose economies are largely supported by raw materials from this part of the world.
They will not rest.
But, critically, our right to self-determination means we have the prerogative of governing ourselves in the way we see fit, as prescribed by our people.
This principle is essentially crystallised and encapsulated in President Mnangagwa’s guiding philosophy “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/ Ilizwe liyakiwa ngabanikazi balo” (a country is built by its own people) and “Nyika inotongwa nevene vayo.”
The furore surrounding the proposed Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill, which simply seeks to ensure transparency in line with best practice, is as interesting as it is instructive.
Apparently, most of the objections are coming from foreign activities and vested groups, and not from our people.
Interestingly, the amendments to the Act were prompted by the Financial Action Taskforce, an inter-governmental organisation founded ostensibly to combat money laundering and financing of international terrorism, which is head-quartered in Paris, France.
Some non-governmental organisations that are lobbying for the amendments to be dropped claim that the proposals, particularly those meant to prevent funding of political activities from outside, are already taken care of by the Political Parties Finances Act.
This is a dishonest argument, because this pertains to PVOs and not political parties. But that is beside the point.
The country has a well-crafted governance architecture and competent national institutions such as Parliament that are capable of passing laws that work for Zimbabwe.
Suffice to say, the Parliament of Zimbabwe, which is made up of an elected assembly from across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe, including from diverse political backgrounds, is more than capable of carrying out its legislative, representative and oversight role.
The Legislature has the legislative supremacy to pass Bills into law.
And this involves an elaborate process of interrogating the proposed legislation and making sure that it is in line with the Constitution.
So, insinuating that Parliament is capable of passing a law that is not in the national interest is to impugn on the integrity and reputation of such as key arm of the State.
However, the noise is perfectly understandable.
Let us be frank here: There are some — in fact, many — non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations (CSOs) that are being funded to coordinate political activities that are not in the national interest.
In one of our major stories, we carry the story of a local CSO that has already been given US$160 000 to support political engagements and activities that are meant to destabilise the Government and ensure that ruling ZANU PF party loses next year’s general election.
This trend has been happening over the years, particularly after the fallout between Zimbabwe and the West over the Fast-Track Land Reform Programme at the turn of the millennium. We should ask ourselves critical questions. Why are foreign governments so vested in ensuring that this Bill does not see the light of day?
If PVOs have been sticking to their mandate, which they claim to be doing, why do they find this new law repugnant?
Why should we be lectured on human rights and morality by the same foreign interests who four decades ago were egregiously enslaving and exploiting us?
Who gave them that moral standing?