BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
THE Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill, which has been roundly condemned by opposition parties and civic groups as meant to stifle operations of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has sailed through National Assembly and now awaits scrutiny by Senate before it is taken up for Presidential assent.
The Bill sailed through the National Assembly with opposition legislators claiming that they were shortchanged.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said: “The Bill has sailed through National Assembly and now waits for Senate, hopefully they will consider it and waits for Presidential assent.”
Opposition legislators and human rights activists have described the controversial Bill as flawed, hence wanted it further debated before its passage into law.
They expressed fear that if passed into law in its current state, the proposed law will further shrink the country’s democratic space and lead to closure of several NGOs perceived as anti-government.
But Zanu PF has described the Bill as a necessary tool to whip rogue NGOs and CSOs into line.
Opposition legislator Sichelesile Mahlangu CCC) said :“It’s very bad, I feel that we have been shortchanged.”
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“We tried by all means to stop them (Zanu PF MPs) but we couldn’t because of the numbers, we tried our level best. On our side we managed to go out and didn’t participate . We were expecting that it will come next year, not this year.”
Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi said:" The Bill sailed through, even the opposition members silently supported the Billl. We are excited that people supported the Bill. It will be signed by the President as law, we are going to have a very good environment.
Norton legislator Themba Mliswa (Independent) said passage of the law would affect many people dependent on donor support.
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