Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) under the banner of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) have written to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi expressing concern over the process around the formulation and contents of the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Bill.
The Bill seeks to bar Non-Governmental Organisations from political lobbying and supporting or opposing any political party or candidate in a presidential, parliamentary or local government election.
In a letter written to Ziyambi and copied to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, CiZC chairperson Rashid Mahiya said the Bill will curtail Government’s re-engagement process.
“The Bill does not consider the political cost of its implementation, notably the Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement efforts. The action to continuously flout principles and values of democracy through enactment of repressive and unjust laws is a drawback on these efforts.
“The Bill seems bent on reversing the strides made by the private voluntary actors in addressing issues of marginality, especially of social groups. Private voluntary actors have been at the fore-front of addressing issues salient to women, youth, orphans and vulnerable children, among many others; all this in complementing government efforts towards the same,” said Mahiya.
Mahiya called on the Government among other issues to respect the Zimbabwean constitution, especially Section 58 which states that, ‘every citizen has a right to freedom of assembly and association….’ and frame policy processes in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s November 2017 inauguration speech in which he said his administration has an open-door policy.
“Allow private voluntary actors to work with the state in supporting vulnerable sections of society, especially in education, health, livelihoods and targeting socially marginalized groups including, women, people with disabilities, the elderly, orphans, girls and young women, ethnic minorities and various victims of climate change.
“We will however not support any move that seeks to withdraw agency from ordinary citizens, and usurping their right to participate in the development of the country,” he added.