Updated: Mar 7, 2022
Residents of Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West on March 3, 2022 rejected proposed amendments to the Private Voluntary Organisations Act saying if allowed to pass, the amendments would further worsen the human rights situation in Zimbabwe by further shrinking the democratic space.
During a public hearing on the PVO Amendment Bill, the residents also argued that there is no concrete evidence to prove that Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) pose a threat to national security and should be regulated by the government.
The residents said allowing the government to have overbearing influence and control over NGOs will limit accountability and transparency on the part of the government and also impact negatively on humanitarian work in the country.
A representative from the Church noted that amendments to the PVO Act are ‘restrictive’ to the work of the church and will also restrict support to the church by various groups and thus compromising the humanitarian work of the church in Zimbabwe.
Concern was also raised that marginalized groups are unaware of the contents of the PVO Amendment Bill as well as the public hearings and allowing the amendments to the PVO Act to pass will amount to imposing a draconian piece of legislation on the people of Zimbabwe.
In Mutoko, Mashonaland East province, the majority of attendants during the PVO Bill public hearing held today, March 3, 2022 rejected amendments to the PVO Act saying it is unacceptable for politicians to be allowed to interfere in the business of private institutions.
Of the 45 submissions made during the hearings, 34 residents rejected amendments to the PVO Act while 11 were in support of the amendments.
Attendants noted that NGOs have been playing a critical role in assisting vulnerable communities in the area and interfering with their work might lead to some of the NGOs closing down and worsen poverty levels in the area.
Another participant noted that NGOs have been playing a critical role in terms of information dissemination on issues of human rights and government control over the NGOs has the possible effect of limiting their operations hence widening the information gap in the area.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition reiterates that amendments to the PVO Act are meant to restrict fundamental rights and will lad to entrenchment of authoritarian rule and it is in this regard that citizens must REJECT the amendments.