- Public policy think tank the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) says the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill is a central cornerstone in the authoritarian consolidation project of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
In a monthly monitoring report for May 2022, ZDI said the Bill is a strategy to curtail operations of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) which play a critical role in democratic spaces.
“The impending promulgation of the PVO bill is earmarked at constricting the operating space for civic organisation as the country enters the electoral cycle ahead of the 2023 elections. This comes against a backdrop of the facilitating role played by the civil society and other democratic forces in Zambia’s 2021 democratic breakthrough.
“The imminent amendment of the PVO Act is yet another strategy by President Mnangagwa’s administration to deter the repeat of the Zambian precedent in Zimbabwe by curtailing the operating space for NGOs and CSOs which play a fundamental role in mobilising democratic forces for a democratic breakthrough,” reads the ZDI report.
The think tank said government’s response to the operations of CSOs comes at a time when the country is grappled with a leadership crisis, unending corruption as well as lack of transparency and accountability in the management of public finance such as the case of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and called on the government to strengthen systems of checks and balances.
“To the government of Zimbabwe, publish timely data on usage of IMF SDRs allocation to the country. Strengthen systems of checks and balances and tightening anti-corruption measures for ensuring that state resources do not serve partisan interests. Consider the input made by citizens across the country during the PVO Amendment Bill public hearings and stop the promulgation into law of the Bill.
“The Civil Society should demand transparency and accountability on expenditure of IMF’s allocation of SDRs to Zimbabwe as of May 2022. Intensify lobby and advocacy on stopping the enactment of PVO Amendment Bill into law, end corruption and provision of a robust public healthcare delivery system,” added ZDI.
ZDI urged the media to investigate and report on expenditure of SDRs from Zimbabwe against the funds utilization plan developed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in November 2021.