Transparency and accountability pressure group the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) has called on Parliamentarians to protect the social contract with citizens and seek to expand as opposed to shrinking the democratic space through the Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) Amendment Bill.
Government of Zimbabwe is currently reflecting on the heavily contested Bill which seeks to regulate the registration and operation of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the country.
In a statement, ZIMCODD said the legislators and the executive should recognise the work being done by the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
“Legislators should protect the social contract with citizens and seek to expand rather than shrink democratic space by hindering the efforts of Non-profits. Legislators and the Executive should take note of the work being done by NGO’s and seek to support especially noting humanitarian players. They should not hamper the assistance that the vulnerable and marginalized communities receive by allowing the PVO Amendment Bill to pass as it reads now.
“The PVO Bill amendments lacks public consultation and public hearing. Stakeholders have the right to input their views and concerns. If it is to stand, the processes of public consultation should be conducted extensively. The bill restricts democratic space. Freedoms of association and assembly should be upheld and guaranteed for communities including NGOs, CSOs, and CBOs,” said ZIMCODD
Re-engagement efforts with the international community, the pressure group said will be defeated as result of the PVO Bill.
“Operating environment for NGOs should be liberal and civil society should have the right to participate in governance processes and to hold the government account as the system of checks and balances allows. Unjustified action against NGOs defeats re-engagement efforts with the international community which are key to economic recovery. This is because re-engagement efforts are premised on democratic indicators which will be affected by continuing shrinking of civic space.” said the pressure group.