By A Correspondent| Local civil society organisations have demanded the withdrawal of the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) bill saying it will have dire consequences including restricting civic space and access to humanitarian support services.
In a joint statement, civil society organisations including Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Peace Project, Veritas and Amnesty International– Zimbabwe among others demanded fresh consultations saying Bill that was presented to the public has now been significantly altered.
“The Bill that was presented to the public has now been altered significantly and must be taken back to the public for consultations as mandated by the Constitution. Without this, the public’s due process and constitutional rights have been violated,” CSOs said.
The organisations added that consultation processes that were conducted in relation to the original draft of the Bill were conducted in bad faith with CSOs’ concerns disregarded.
“This violates the public’s constitutional right to participate in law making, as the authorities have a constitutional obligation to consider the views of the public in terms of section 141 of the Constitution,” the CSOs added.
The organisations expressed concern that the Justice and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi had reneged on his earlier promise to factor in inputs from CSOs who earlier engaged him over the contents of the bill.
“When CSOs took the initiative to engage Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi on 11 April 2022, this was done in good faith. CSOs were made to understand that the Minister, as the leader of Government business in Parliament, and CSOs had found each other.
“However, to the utter shock and surprise of CSOs, the amendments that have now been introduced do the very opposite of what the Minister had promised and committed to,” the CSOs said.
The organisations labelled the amendments made to the PVO Amendment bill more draconian.
“The extensive amendments to the PVO Amendment Bill are even more draconian and tantamount to introducing a completely new Bill.
“This removes the participatory element of our democracy (that citizens are entitled to), protected in section 141 of the Constitution, as such extensive alterations to the Bill were not privy to public hearings and public consultations,” the CSOs added.