Zanu PF youth leader threatens NewsDay over PVO bill

Source: Zanu PF youth leader threatens NewsDay over PVO bill –Newsday Zimbabwe

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

The public hearings, being led by Parliament to gather people’s input on the controversial amendment bill which aims to regulate the operations of PVO in Zimbabwe, have been disrupted in many areas allegedly at the instigation of some Zanu PF youth leaders with Taurai Kandishaya having been fingered as the alleged key figure involved in the disturbances.

 

 

The disruptions have been witnessed in Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Gweru and Harare.

Sources told NewsDay that Kandishaya and others have reportedly been mobilising party youths to interrupt the hearings and when NewsDay contacted him yesterday he curtly denied the allegations.

“Write whatever that you want, but I will come and deal with you, personally,” he retorted.” I am not going to comment on that.

“Even if you say I was also seen in Botswana disrupting the meetings, that is it. You only saw me at Ambassador.”

 

 

However, sources told NewsDay that Kandishaya had been leading the disruptions and mobilising party members to disrupt the meetings.

“He has been very efficient. The notable incident being in Harare last Friday. It was really chaotic,” the sources said.

Witnesses at hearings described chaotic scenes during which Zanu PF youths booed other participants’ contributions, while applauding their fellow party members.

 

 

In Harare, police had to be called in after suspected ruling party youths disrupted the public hearing held at Ambassador Hotel.

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

Heal Zimbabwe Trust advocacy officer Tapiwanashe Chiriga condemned the disruptions saying: “It is not lost on us that they reflected the intentions of the PVO Bill itself, which is to stifle public participation and shut down civic and democratic space in Zimbabwe.

“The goal of those responsible for these disruptions and chaos is to reduce public participation to a caricature and a circus.”

Chiriga urged Parliament to uphold its constitutional responsibilities under Section 141, which mandates the institution to guarantee, facilitate and ensure effective public participation and access to parliamentary processes.

Centre for Natural Resource Governance executive director Farai Maguwu urged Parliament to stop the hearings.

“I attended the Harare one; no one was allowed to speak against the Bill. Only one person managed to speak, but she was threatened. She could not finish at all,” said Maguwu.

“The PVO outreach programme is a sham. It is not possible for Parliament to come up with reports that genuinely reflect the views of the Zimbabwean people.

“Parliament should stop the process as they are being harassed by thugs while they are at work, how much more are the ordinary citizens at risk of being attacked or followed home,” Maguwu added.

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 government unjustifiable control over their operations.

The Bill allows the State to interfere with civil society organisations’ governance and activities, while penalties for breaching provisions of the Bill range from heavy fines to imprisonment.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa referred the Bill back to Parliament during the 9th Parliament for reconsideration.

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