New law bars NGOs from politics

KIGALI - The Lower Chambers of Parliament has approved an amendment to the law that regulates the operations of local Non Governmental Organisations. The amendment seeks to prohibit NGOs from having any political inclinations.
Local Government Minister, Christopher BazivamoLocal Government Minister, Christopher Bazivamo
Local Government Minister, Christopher BazivamoLocal Government Minister, Christopher Bazivamo

The Lower Chambers of Parliament has approved an amendment to the law that regulates the operations of local Non Governmental Organisations.

KIGALI - The amendment seeks to prohibit NGOs from having any political inclinations.

Defending the adjustment during a plenary session chaired by Deputy Speaker Polisi Denis, Local Government Minister, Christopher Bazivamo, said NGOs are prohibited from fundraising for any political party.

However, he clarified that individual members of the NGOs have a right to have political affiliations.

According to Law No.20/2000 of July, 26, 2000, there are three categories of NGOs; Public Interest Organizations, Common Interest Organizations and Foundations.

Under the amendment, the NGOs are allowed to conduct commercial activities provided that the profit from such activities, are ploughed back into the organisation’s non-profit making activities.

In this case, the organisation shall abide with laws which govern the registration and functioning of the commercial sector.

Government can also extend financial support to an NGO, but in this case, the Auditor General will demand for accountability.

“In order to be entitled to financial support from the Government, National Non Governmental Organisations shall be members of and function within the Forum of Collective Action for Development,” the law reads in part.

NGOs are also supposed to register with the Ministry of local government and government may deny such registration if it is convinced that the NGO seeking registration intends to jeopardize public safety, order, health, morals or fundamental rights and freedoms.

The affected NGO is allowed to appeal such a decision.
A Legal Representative of a National Non Governmental Organisation must not have been sentenced for; genocide, discrimination and sectarianism.

For the purposes of transparency and accountability, the body in charge of coordinating national NGOs shall monitor their socio-economic activities.

NGOs also have a right to express their opinions and views on national policies.

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