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‘PVOs Bill dents Zim’s C’wealth bid’

Local News

LEGAL think-tank, Veritas says the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment (PVOs) Bill will make Zimbabwe’s bid to rejoin the Commonwealth a mockery of the grouping’s values if it is passed into law.

The Bill is viewed as oppressive by civic society groups because it contains clauses that are likely to ban their operations, and give government express powers to register or deregister them.

The PVOs Bill currently awaits third reading in the National Assembly and is yet to be scrutinised by the Senate.

In its latest analysis of the Bill, Veritas adjudged it as unconstitutional, inimical to freedom of association, ill-conceived and badly drafted.

“It will stifle the activities of private voluntary organisations (PVOs) of all kinds and will put at risk the social and economic development they bring. If enacted, it prevents civil society in Zimbabwe from promoting and supporting Commonwealth values such as freedom of association, peaceful assembly, sustainable development and protection of the environment,” Veritas said.

“The Bill, in short, will make a mockery of the Commonwealth’s values.”

Some of the values of the Commonwealth include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace.

Veritas said Commonwealth leaders and the Zimbabwe government should think about the consequences of the PVOs Amendment Bill.

“Government must not reintroduce the Bill since it lapsed with the just ended parliamentary session. If it is to be passed in the new session, the National Assembly will have to resolve to revive it,” it said.

The Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament has come to an end, which means all motions and Bills discussed in the previous session will lapse.  President Emmerson Mnangagwa will today officially open the Fifth session of the Ninth Parliament.

Opposition legislators and human rights activists have criticised the Bill saying it is flawed and will discourage mobilisation of aid for vulnerable communities.

Zanu PF has defended the Bill saying it is necessary to whip into line civic society organisations promoting an anti-government agenda, and those pushing a regime change agenda. The ruling party says it will also curb money laundering.

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