By Bustop TV
Local human rights coalition, Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (The Forum) has urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to discard the draconian Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill as it will negatively impact citizens making them susceptible to rights abuses.
The PVO Amendment Bill was gazetted on November 5 aimed at amending the PVO Act and ensure that PVOs comply with the Financial Action Task Force, facilitate operations of PVOs and prevent them from partaking in political activities.
These recommendations will however restrict the operations of PVOs, violating human rights in the process by blocking the civil society who serve as watchdogs and barring any humanitarian support offered by PVOs.
Speaking at a recent symposium The Forum programs coordinator, Wilbert Mandinde said while on the surface the PVO Bill appeared targeted at NGOs it would eventually affect the ordinary people.
The symposium held in Mutare was hosted by The Forum and National Transnational Justice Working Group.
“Then we have the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill on the table, this is the Bill that is going to change the face of civil society in Zimbabwe. This is the Bill that we are discussing at the moment, this is a Bill that is of serious concern to the NGOs, and this is a Bill; whilst it is seemingly targeted at the NGOs, will not only affect NGOs but the citizenry at large.
“We are clear in our analysis that this Bill will not only affect the human rights-based CSOs like ourselves, but also the humanitarian NGOs.
“There are quite several worrying clauses in there, some are not to do with the exact clauses but how they may be interpreted and applied.
“For example, the issue of NGOs not being allowed to render support to political parties, and you look into it and you want to say; as NGOs, we want to be apolitical but what does rendering support to political parties mean? You are aware that since time immemorial, NGOs would, for example, offer legal representation to members of political parties, like offering legal representation to a member of a political party who would have been arrested.
“Is this rendering support? These are some of the questions we have been asking.”
He added: “We certainly hope that we will all join hands in analysing this Bill, we will join our hands in lobbying government, through Parliament for a reconsideration of this Bill.
“The Forum and its members also coordinated and assisted people with medical or psycho-social support, especially those who would have fallen victims of human rights abuses.”
The Forum is a coalition of over twenty human rights non governmental organisations offering humanitarian, legal aid, food security, psycho-social support among other services to citizens.
This article was produced with financial support of the Content Creators Network ZW.