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PVO Bill not for punishing NGOs- Ziyambi


Harare, (New Ziana) – Amendments to the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill are not meant to stifle the operations of non-governmental organisations but to strengthen regulations governing the sector, a Cabinet Minister said on Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists at a meeting between the government and civil society organisations (CSO) on the PVO Amendment Bill, Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said it was not the intention of the government to punish NGOs using the legislation.

“I believe the interaction allowed the NGO sector to appreciate where the government is coming from. I believe they now appreciate that the bill is not about punishing NGOs but just a regulatory framework that will allow them to do their work freely and without any hindrances,” he said.

He reiterated that the PVO Bill was also coming in to deal with illicit financial flows into the country.

“We looked at it and decided to ensure that we streamline them so that we get rid of NGOs that want to participate in partisan political activities,” he said.

Ziyambi said the PVO Bill was not unique to Zimbabwe alone.

“The majority of the countries have legislation that deal with regulation of the NGO sector. We are not the only ones. We do it to ensure that we also protect those individuals that will donate to those charitable organisations. So it’s something that is done globally,” he said.

He expressed confidence that the Bill would this time be passed in Parliament in its current form.

“We finished an engagement with CSOs to hear their views, take some of the issues into consideration when we proceed to Parliament to ensure that the bill is passed. I think we are going to amend the bill in its current structure,” he said.

Isaac Maphosa of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said CSOs were not against being regulated.

“We are not refusing to be regulated; it’s the how part we are concerned (about). We believe some of the provisions violate freedom of choice and association enshrined in the Constitution,” he said.

Non-governmental organizations operating in Zimbabwe and foreign embassies have been campaigning against the amendment Bill, arguing that it is an attempt by the government to strangle civil society groups.

The Bill requires organizations not previously within the scope of the PVO Act to now register as PVOs, with time being given for compliance.

President Mnangagwa caused the delay in tabling the PVO Amendment Bill in Parliament when he exercised his right and withheld his assent to it last year.

New Ziana

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