Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) claim that Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi deceived them into believing that their submissions to the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill would be considered in Parliament.
In a joint statement yesterday, NGOs said the proposed law restricted civic space and humanitarian support.
“When CSOs took the initiative to engage Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi on April 11, 2022, this was done in good faith. CSOs were made to understand that the minister, as the leader of government business in Parliament, and CSOs had found each other,” read the statement.
Recently, government fast-tracked crafting of the PVOs Amendment Bill and sent it to the Committee Reading Stage with most opposition legislators not present in the House.
CSOs claim that some new amendments made on July 26, 2022 introduced new provisions that were never taken to public hearings for people to air their views on the suggested changes.
“The consultation processes that were conducted in relation to the original draft of the Bill were conducted in bad faith, as CSOs’ concerns have been entirely disregarded, with the proposed amendments introducing even greater restrictions to the rights to freedom of association and administrative justice,” the CSOs’ statement read
They said fast-tracking and failure to subject the additional clauses to public hearings violated the constitutional right to consider the views of the public in terms of section 141 of the Constitution.
The Bill reportedly gives too much power to Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister to register and de-register NGOs. CSOs also believe some clauses in the Bill are likely to stifle their operations.
The NGOs include the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, National Transitional Justice Working Group, Research and Advocacy Unit, Transparency International Zimbabwe and Veritas among others.