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MPs rubbish PVOs Bill

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BY METHEMBE SIBANDA
MEMBERS of Parliament have rubbished the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment (PVOs) Bill describing it as an act of terrorism against citizens.

The MPs believe the Bill, currently at the Second Reading Stage in the National Assembly, will stifle operations of non-governmental organisation that have been assisting vulnerable communities.

Other critics of the Bill have also dismissed it as unconstitutional and a piece of legislation aimed at abolishing civil society organisations and their operations in Zimbabwe.

Government, however, says the Bill will help curb money laundering.

Contributing to debate on the Bill last Thursday, Norton legislator Temba Mliswa (Independent) said: “The citizens of Bulawayo are saying by passing this Bill, the government will be doing an act of terrorism against its citizens because right now they have nothing; they have no food, they cannot send their children to school and this is the role that the NGOs and the PVOs are playing in the country. I implore Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi that this Bill must not see the light of the day, if he cares about citizens.”

Bulawayo proportional representation MP Jasmine Toffa (Citizens Coalition for Change) said the Bill was being crafted at a time when people in places like Bulawayo were not given the opportunity to air their views on its provisions.

“During public hearings in Bulawayo, there was a lot of chaos. The citizens of Bulawayo were not given an opportunity to air their views. There were people who were sponsored to create chaos. It was said that the non-governmental organisations and the PVOs are committing acts of terrorism against the government,” Toffa said.

Government gazetted the PVOs Amendment Bill in 2021 saying the amendments will align the existing PVO Act with the financial Action Task Force recommendations against money laundering and financing terrorism.

But NGOs have said about 18 000 jobs will be lost if the Bill sailed through Parliament as it sought to give government too much power to regulate and silence them against speaking out on corruption and human rights abuses, and demanding transparency and accountability.

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