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Envoys, govt clash over PVOs Bill

Local News

Envoys, govt clash over PVOs Bill


DIPLOMATS in Zimbabwe recently described the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill as an impediment to enjoyment of human rights.

In frank discussions diplomats asked government to reverse the Bill which largely seeks to monitor and regulate the operations of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The meeting was confirmed by Information secretary Ndabaningi Mangwana who tweeted: “A few days ago some diplomats met government officials over the PVOs Amendment Bill. They expressed a lot of bitterness and odium towards the Bill. Very interesting. How does this Bill undermine their interests? Don’t we have the right to advance our own interests like everyone else?”

Government gazetted the PVOs Amendment Bill in 2021, saying the amendments would align the existing PVO Act with the Financial Action Task Force recommendations against money-laundering and financing of terrorism.

However, non-governmental organisations view the amendments as oppressive and unconstitutional because the piece of legislation aims to abolish civil society organisations (CSOs) and their operations in Zimbabwe.

Historically, the Government of Zimbabwe has viewed NGOs, particularly those in the human rights and democracy cluster, as anti-establishment, pro-opposition and pushing for regime change.

Although NGOs claim that they are non-partisan, government has accused them of abusing Western donor funds to prop the opposition.

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Musa Kika said diplomatic engagement over issues of development and governance was imperative for sharing perspectives, ideas and good practices.

“Diplomatic missions in Zimbabwe through their development agencies provide the bulk of social protection support to Zimbabwe, including supporting development initiatives by both State and non-State actors,” Kika said.

“This is going to be disrupted in many ways if that law is passed, thus this engagement is in fact inevitable. As to whether the government will listen, time will tell through government’s action, but the government will be well advised to drop what will close civic space and disrupt the little social protection there is in Zimbabwe mainly through NGOs and development partners.”

Efforts to get a comment from Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi were fruitless, but the Bill is at an advanced stage of crafting. Newsday.

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