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Zimbabwe's PVO Bill public hearing abandoned

by Staff reporter
18 May 2024 at 11:14hrs | Views
A public hearing on the controversial Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill (H.B 2024) was abruptly halted in Harare after a female participant voiced strong opposition to the proposed legislation, sparking protests from suspected Zanu-PF youths.

Passionate Fuza, a communications officer for Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Platform, made critical remarks about the bill, prompting outrage from ruling party youths. As tensions escalated, Fuza decided to leave the venue at Ambassador Hotel to avoid further confrontation, with the youths expressing their discontent through derogatory chants.

Despite the disruptions, Fuza maintained her composure and continued to express her thoughts until the end of her submission, after which she left the venue amidst the booing.

The chaos led to the premature termination of the hearing, with members of the Joint Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, as well as the Thematic Committee on Gender Development, also leaving the premises due to concerns for their safety.

Following the incident, anti-riot police were dispatched to the scene to disperse the crowd of singing youths.

Supporters of the bill argue that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are misusing funds and promoting values contrary to Zimbabwean culture, while proponents of the bill emphasize the importance of accountability and transparency in NGO operations.

However, some CSO representatives believe that rather than tightening regulations, the government should empower the National Association of NGOs (NANGO) to oversee and regulate these organizations.

Farai Maguwu, Director of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), emphasized the need for a balanced approach, suggesting that regulatory oversight should be entrusted to NANGO to address issues of fund misuse and violations.

Critics of the bill argue that certain provisions may discourage NGOs from operating in Zimbabwe, which could have detrimental effects, particularly in times of humanitarian crisis. They caution that over-regulation could hinder the delivery of essential services, exacerbating existing challenges in sectors such as healthcare.

Amidst ongoing debates surrounding the PVO Amendment Bill, voices advocating for a reevaluation of the proposed legislation highlight potential pitfalls and urge policymakers to consider the broader implications for civil society and humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe.

Source - newzimbabwe
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