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Zanu-PF youths disrupt PVO Bill hearings

by Staff reporter
18 May 2024 at 11:18hrs | Views
ZANU-PF youths disrupted public hearings on the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill in Gweru and Harare yesterday.

In Gweru, the meeting was abandoned after ruling party youths became rowdy, shouting at officials led by Senator Sisasenkosi Ndebele, who had to leave the venue hastily. Ndebele had initially stated that the meeting was non-political and encouraged participants to freely express their views. However, the youths began singing in support of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and questioning why "people hated him," ultimately disrupting the meeting.

Throughout the session, ZANU-PF youths repeatedly interrupted proceedings, booing other participants and clapping when fellow party members spoke. The youths supported the Bill, claiming it would "curb terrorism" by monitoring non-profit organizations, which they accused of promoting a "regime change agenda" with backing from "hostile Western countries." Any dissenting views against the Bill were met with boos and interruptions.

In Harare, police were called in after suspected ruling party youths disrupted the public hearing at Ambassador Hotel. The hearing ended prematurely when ZANU-PF supporters and members of some religious sects began singing party songs. This occurred after a young woman criticized the Bill for giving the responsible minister excessive power to interfere with civic groups. She was booed by alleged ZANU-PF youths and left the room fearing for her safety, forcing the committee to abandon the proceedings.

Before the disruptions, participants had expressed concerns that the Bill granted too much power to the line minister. Civic society groups have condemned the Bill, arguing that it undermines freedoms of expression and association and gives the government unjustifiable control over their operations. The Bill allows the State to interfere with the governance and activities of civil society organizations, with penalties for breaching its provisions ranging from heavy fines to imprisonment.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa had previously referred the Bill back to Parliament for reconsideration during the 9th Parliament. It has now returned, with ZANU-PF holding a two-thirds majority.

Source - newsday
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