Government revises stance on NGOs amid controversy over PVO Amendment Bill 

Source: Government revises stance on NGOs amid controversy over PVO Amendment Bill -Newsday Zimbabwe

GOVERNMENT has backed down on its militant stance against non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the country and pledged to amend provisions of the PVOs Amendment Bill that threatened to stifle their operations.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi confirmed the development on Wednesday following a meeting with NGOs representatives in Harare.

 

“I’m absolutely happy with the deliberations, it was robust, we managed to learn a few things and we are going to amend the bill in its current structure.

“We have noticed that there are issues that are also not consistent, but I believe the interaction  allowed the NGO sector to appreciate where the government was coming from.

“When they go back they will now understand and appreciate that the Bill is not about punishing the NGO sector but just a regulatory framework that will allow them to do their work freely without any Hindrances,” he said.

Government passed the Bill in February 2023 intensifying efforts to close the NGO space which it accused of meddling in internal politics.

 

 

Last month one of the ruling Zanu PF youth leaders threatened to “deal with” NewsDay after a journalist had called him asking about his possible links to rowdy crowds accused of disrupting Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill hearings countrywide.

The public hearings, being led by Parliament to gather people’s input on the controversial Bill, have been disrupted in many areas allegedly at the instigation of some Zanu PF youth leaders fingered as the alleged key figure involved in the disturbances.

The PVO Amendment Bill has been a source of controversy since its introduction, with critics arguing that it’s aimed at curtailing the operations of the country’s non-governmental organisations and civil society groups.

Prior to the disruptions, participants expressed concerns that the Bill gave too much power to the line minister.

Civic society groups have also condemned the Bill saying it undermines freedoms of expression and association, while giving the government unfettered control over their operations, including disclosure of their sources of funding.

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