By Thandiwe Garusa
THE United Nations has expressed concern over the recently gazetted Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) amendment bill through which the government seeks to clampdown on civil society organisations.
The bill was gazetted last month.
Its provisions will severely impact on operations of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), especially those that advocate for human rights in the country.
UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom and peaceful assembly and of association Clement Nyaletsossi Voule said the bill will gravely affect the civic space.
“#Zimbabwe together with colleagues I am deeply concerned over the PVO Amendment bill that could gravely impact civic space,” Voule said in a twitter post.
“I urge the government to ensure that counter-terrorism laws provide safeguards to protect the rights to association and review the amendments to comply with international standards,” Voule said.
The CSOs have heavily criticized the PVO amendment bill saying that it has serious implications that affect trusts, associations and many other organisations providing charitable services and those that benefits from them.
Recently President Emmerson Mnangagwa warned the CSOs to stay away from politics as he would not hesitate to deal with those that interfere.
He accuses Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and PVOs of deviating from their humanitarian agenda and interfering into partisan politics.
The ruling party has on several occasions accused CSOs of pushing a regime change agenda.