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Reject the PVO Bill, citizens urged

Citizens have been urged to stop the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Amendment Bill from being passed into law.

Parliament Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare will be in Bulawayo, Wednesday, to hold public consultations for the PVO Amendment Bill at Selbourne Hotel at 10 am and at Emakhandeni Hall at 2 pm.

Speaking to CITE, Mbuso Fuzwayo of Ibhetshu Lika Zulu said people need to be wary that the effects of the Bill is far reaching and will affect a wide sector of the civic space.

Fuzwayo said the Bill will not only affect human rights defenders but also humanitarian organisations a move that will have a bearing on communities that need assistance to get by.

“This Bill, if passed into law, will affect communities that get various forms of assistance from humanitarian organisations. These may include help in the form of food, education, health and anything to do with the law,” he said.

“People need to realise that the authorities responsible for pushing for the Bill hold about two-thirds majority in Parliament so that is why as citizens it is important to do our best for our voices to be heard. On most occasions, people have been misled that NGOs push for regime change, which is not true.  it is important for people to find out which organisations operate in their areas and learn more about the work that they do in order to have better appreciation.”

Fuzwayo reiterated that it is important for those who will be fortunate enough to have consultations done in their proximity to remember that the responsibility of securing the future of Zimbabwe is on their shoulders.

Political Analyst Effie Ncube said the PVO Bill seeks to stifle an already struggling civic space which will result in people failing to speak out for their rights nor getting basic constitutional rights.

“This Bill, if passed as a law, will interfere with the independence of NGOs. These play a pivotal oversight role on the government. By giving the Registrar of NGOs and the Minister power to shutdown NGOs, the Bill takes away this independence as NGOs will be afraid to criticise the government where it is wrong for fear of being shut down,” Ncube said.

“Of note is also the fact that if the existing organisations are to be registered as PVOs then the process may be too cumbersome. As it is there are some organisations that have tried to do so since 2000 but to date they have not been successful.

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