HARARE – Suspected Zanu PF supporters on Friday disrupted a public hearing on the highly divisive Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill at Harare’s Ambassador Hotel forcing its abandonment.

The hostile group members took turns to voice their support for the government sponsored draft legislation, viewed by the opposition and civil society as an attempt by the Zanu PF led authority to meddle in the affairs of NGOs that have kept the state under scrutiny in terms of rights violations and poll fraud, among other violations.

Things came to a head when the rogues did not take kindly to an opposing contribution by a member of civil society who was part of the tense deliberations.

Soon the room was drowned in chants which were in denunciation of those opposed to the controversial law.

“Vasingade ngavabude muZimbabwe. Bill redu torida muZimbabwe! (Dissenters should leave the country. We want our Bill),” they chanted in scenes that spilled outside the building.

Members of the joint Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Thematic Committee on Gender Development who were conducting the hearing had to leave the venue quickly before the mayhem escalated.

In Masvingo on Thursday, parliamentarians and members of the public who were attending the consultative meeting had to scurry for safety after fighting broke out between supporters and those with opposing view on the Bill.

Several people were reportedly injured.

Chaos also erupted in Chinhoyi at a similar hearing, when suspected political activists confronted each other and disrupted proceedings.

And in Harare, only five Zanu PF supporters gave their views in support of the Bill uninterrupted but denied Passionate Fuza of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Forum an opportunity to reject the legislation.

“I am in full support of the Bill because a country should have a set of requirements to be followed by CSO wishing to operate here.

“Their shenanigans should be regulated by the government,” said a man who only identified himself as Mashanda.

Another man who introduced himself as Archbishop Parani of the Zimbabwe United Council of Churches said the Bill sets the tone for transparency and accountability of NGOs.

Rights groups and lawyers warned that the bill gave disproportionate and discretionary powers to the newly established Office of the Registrar of PVOs.

The Registrar’s powers include the ability to consider, grant or reject the registration of PVOs, with little to no judicial recourse against such decisions.

But Zanu PF believes the bill would stop PVOs from meddling in the country’s political affairs and limit them to their mandate.