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Govt in major climbdown on PVO Bill

By Staff Writer

JUSTICE Minister Ziyambi-Ziyambi has indicated the government’s willingness to factor in concerns raised by multiple stakeholders against the highly contested PVO Bill.

Popularly known as the PVO Bill, the legal instrument has attracted widespread criticism within and beyond the country’s borders as yet another tool poised to muzzle the democratic space in the country due to controversial sections which place NGOs under strict supervision by the government.

Speaking to CSOs representatives after an engagement meeting on the Bill Ziyambi indicated the possibility of factoring in the concerns.

He said he was absolutely happy with the deliberations,” it was robust, we managed to learn a few things and we are going to amend the bill in its current structure.”

“We have noticed that there are issues that are also not consistent, but I believe the interaction allowed the NGO sector to appreciate where the government was coming from.

“When they go back they will now understand and appreciate that the Bill is not about punishing the NGO sector but just a regulatory framework that will allow them to do their work freely without any Hindrances,” he said.

Government passed the Bill in February 2023 intensifying efforts to close the NGO space which it accused of meddling in internal politics.

Last month one of the ruling Zanu PF youth leaders threatened to “deal with” NewsDay after a journalist had called him asking about his possible links to rowdy crowds accused of disrupting Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill hearings countrywide.

The public hearings, being led by Parliament to gather people’s input on the controversial Bill, have been disrupted in many areas allegedly at the instigation of some Zanu PF youth leaders fingered as the alleged key figure involved in the disturbances.

The PVO Amendment Bill has been a source of controversy since its introduction, with critics arguing that it’s aimed at curtailing the operations of the country’s non-governmental organisations and civil society groups.

Prior to the disruptions, participants expressed concerns that the Bill gave too much power to the line minister.

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