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Patriotic, PVO Bills meant to shrink democratic space

The Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill before Parliament and the proposed Patriotic Bill are both an attempt by the ZANU-PF-led government to further shrink the democratic space in the country, opposition Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) leader, Jacob Ngarivhume, has said.

Ngarivhume was speaking Monday during This Morning on Asakhe, an online programme hosted by CITE on Twitter Spaces.

“What dictatorships do is that they want to close democratic space so that they continue to thrive and function and oppress their people,” said Ngarivhume.

“They want to make sure that any possible space that can bring the people of Zimbabwe together progressively is closed. They either want to make sure that instead of people finding time to discuss important issues like we’re doing, our women are in boreholes queuing to make sure that they get water so that in the end we continue to depend on the regimes that are oppressing us for food handouts.”

He said ZANU-PF was determined to control everything citizens do in order for them to remain in power forever.

“So, you see with bills like the Patriotic Bill and the PVO Bill, it’s about shrinking and killing the democratic space, which is very unfortunate, and you only see that in what I would call criminal states,” decried Ngarivhume.

“It’s only criminal states that would want to control what citizens do, who they meet and so on.”

Ngarivhume said it was unfortunate that while the government wants to restrict citizens on who to meet, on the other hand, they are at liberty to meet with whoever they want to without similar restrictions.

“They are meeting people from the East,” he said.

“You know they are proud of the Chinese building Parliament but of course, if somebody has a meeting with somebody from the West then they say, ‘oh, they are selling the country.’ That is nonsense.”

He said such pieces of legislation should not stop Zimbabweans from fighting for change in the country.

“If I were to be afraid that I would be arrested under the Patriotic Bill or I’ll be arrested under this, then we’ll never achieve freedom in this country,” said Ngarivhume.

“We have reached a point where we feel we have to continue defying unjust laws.”

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