By A Correspondent- Civic society organisations (CSOs) want government to withdraw the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Bill and allow them to self-regulate to avoid external interference in their work.
Government gazetted the PVO Bill on November 5, 2021, which has been widely criticised by CSOs that say it was targeted at government critics and criminalises some of their work in defending human rights.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) January report titled The Great Gift of Active Citizens – How the PVO Bill Threatens Active Citizenship in Zimbabwe, which was released on Friday said many CSOs believed in self-regulation.
“They believe in self-regulation in order to maintain independence. The government should not have absolute power to control the operations of CSOs because this compromises independence and accountability,” ZimRights said.
“Civic engagement is not about regime change. It is about inclusive governance and economic growth. Citizen engagement can help governments to achieve improved development results in creating links between citizen engagement and improved public service delivery, public financial management, governance, social inclusion and empowerment. Communities are not passive. They are active and creative with the capacity to defend their interests.”