By Bustop TV
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) have disapproved of the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill which will do away with civic society organisations if enacted.
The PVO Amendment Bill gazetted on November 5 will repress the civil society if passed into law, restricting their activities.
The law will further see an increase in human rights violations in Zimbabwe when the civic society ceases to play its watchdog role.
In a virtual ZCC Ecumenical dialogue to discuss the views of clerics on the PVO Bill, faith leaders said they were opposed to the bill as it threatened democracy, exposed vulnerable groups and put the country at risk of international isolation.
The dialogue was meant to create awareness on the implications of the PVO Bill if it becomes law.
Speaking at the dialogue the clerics said: “There will be no accountability on the part of the Government, Zimbabwe will become more of an authoritarian state, no democracy.
“Poverty and inequalities will increase as most people in the country were benefiting in the areas of health and education from the CSOs. Unemployment will keep rising. Some of the CSOs were creating employment for the citizens.
“The voice of the voiceless will no longer be heard. CSOs provided platforms in which the voiceless were now being heard in most influential areas of human life in the country. We might lose international confidence and we will remain in isolation as a country as most CSOs advocate for democratic minds.
“Abuse of human rights will rise as the abusers will be unchecked. We are a polarized society and without CSOs this will be worse than what we are experiencing right now. The current economic challenges we are experiencing in our country surely need the support of NGOs and we should not label them as enemies of the state.”
The ZCC is currently running an awareness campaign on the PVO Bill on its social media pages where various faith leaders voice their opinions concerning the bill and highlight the cost of losing CSOs.
Reverend Tariro Zhou from the ZCC said: “Civil society organisations play an important role in enhancing informed decisions and informed participation of citizens during elections, budget consultations and many other things that concern this country’s citizens. They also take part in emergency responses when there are natural disasters they provide humanitarian assistance, they also provide legal aid to those who need it but cannot afford it, civic education.”
Reverend Laura Nyebera added: “The PVOs are very important especially to women as they support women rights organisations like Shamwari Yemwanasikana which assist GBV victims. They also ease the burden when there are natural disasters like when Cyclone Idai hit in Chimanimani.”
This article was produced with financial support of the Content Creators Network ZW.