Masvingo Residents Implore Legislators To Block PVO Bill

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By Clayton Shereni, Masvingo Correspondent

RESIDENTS associations in Gutu have written to their local legislators advising them to block the passage of the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) which they say would impede on their operations.

Gutu United Residents and Ratepayers Association (GURRA) on February 24, wrote to all members of Parliament in Gutu district and Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Lovemore Matuke who is also a Gutu senator, imploring them to avoid passing the ‘controversial’ Bill.

GURRA says the bill will impede freedom of association among other fundamental rights which should not be compromised.

“If passed, the Bill would affect the work of all non-profits making organisations working in Zimbabwe including those providing life-saving assistance like sanitary ware drives, community feeding centres, burial societies, religious charities, educational services, food aid, water and sanitation assistance, care for vulnerable children and more,” the letter reads.

“It limits rights like freedom of association, right to privacy and political rights, which are provided for in Zimbabwe’s Constitution. It is also unnecessary as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations which this Bill claims to have already been addressed in other laws and policies. In light of the above we are engaging your honorable office to protect the freedom and independence of NGOs as this preserves their development work and development of communities,” it further reads.

The same sentiments were also shared by Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) describing the Bill as unconstitutional with diabolic intentions.

MURRA Information Officer, Godfrey Mtimba said: “We are against this draconian Bill which seeks to shut down the operations of civic society in the country. If the Bill is successful it will spell disasters most NGOs will be closed because the Minister of Public Service is going to be given power to close organizations they deem are criticizing government and no one will hold government accountable or perform the watchdog and whistleblowing role. It’s a dangerous, anti-democratic and unconstitutional Bill that resembles diabolic and satanic intentions from government.”

The Parliament of Zimbabwe is currently holding public hearings of the contentious Bill with many CSOs and communities rejecting the proposed Bill.