BY PRIVELEDGE GUMBODETE
OPPOSITION legislators have demanded that processes on the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill be halted until Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda delivers a verdict on allegations that the Bill was fast-tracked at committee reading stage.
Dzivarasekwa MP Ediwn Mushoriwa (Citizens Coalition for Change) complained that MPs who wanted to debate using virtual platforms were deliberately not given the chance to do so on the instruction of Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.
Madenda said he would look into the matter by going through the Hansard and recordings on the day and deliver a ruling.
Deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi said the Bill was put on the order paper in terms of the standing order, a claim challenged by opposition legislators.
“There is a pending issue which affects the proceedings. The chair should be in a position to indicate to honourable members. The honourable speaker indicated that he is going to consider the matter and up to now, we are in the dark as to where we are going in the absence of the ruling,” Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese (CCC) said.
Mushoriwa said: “Pending the ruling of the speaker, the process was supposed to be suspended. The leader of the House denied Members of Parliament to contribute to a debate at committee stage of a vital Bill which members debated extensively in the second reading.”
Gezi responded saying the matter would be finalised today.
There are allegations that government plans to railroad the PVOs Bill, which seeks to amend the Private Voluntary Organisations Act, giving the State unfettered powers to snoop into operations of civic society organisations, trusts and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Government has defended the Bill as necessary to stop NGOs from pushing a regime change agenda.