Rowdy ZANU PF Youths Disrupt PVO Bill Hearings

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Rowdy ZANU PF Youths Disrupt PVO Bill Hearings
Rowdy ZANU PF Youths Disrupt PVO Bill Hearings

Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. Suspected ZANU PF youths on Friday disrupted public hearings on the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill in Gweru and Harare.

The PVO Amendment Bill, gazetted on 5th November 2021, seeks to regulate the operations of civic groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

As reported by NewsDay, in Gweru, the meeting was abandoned after the ruling party youths heckled the officials led by Senator Sisasenkosi Ndebele, forcing her to leave the venue of the meeting.

In her welcome remarks, Ndebele had said the meeting was non-political and participants were “free to air their views”.

After disrupting the meeting, the youths reportedly started singing in support of President Emmerson Mnangagwa asking why “people hated him”.

During the meeting, the ZANU PF youths would clap their hands when fellow party members were making their submissions but boo other participants’ contributions.

In their support of the Bill, the youths unanimously said it would “curb terrorism” by monitoring the activities of non-profit organisations.

They maintain that NGOs harbour a “regime change agenda” through support from “hostile Western countries”.

In Harare, police had to be called in after suspected ZANU PF youths disrupted the public hearing held at the Ambassador Hotel.

The hearing was abandoned after participants largely from ZANU PF and some religious sects started singing party songs in response to a young woman who had criticised the Bill.

The young woman had said the Bill gave the responsible minister overarching powers to interfere in the work of civic groups.

She left the room fearing for her life following the heckling by ZANU PF supporters.

Critics of the Bill argue that it undermines freedoms of expression and association and gives the government unjustifiable control over the operations of civic groups.

Among other provisions, the PVO Bill stipulates that NGOs and civic society organisations (CSOs) should disclose their sources of funding.

The organisations are required to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government defining their activities and zones of geographic coverage.

The Bill gives the government the authority to “deregister any private voluntary organisation that fails to comply with its conditions of registration.”

In February 2023, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that he would “speedily” sign into law the Private Voluntary Organisation Bill (PVO) once it reaches his desk.

He said no amount of pressure from foreign governments will stop the signing of the Bill into law.

However, when the Bill eventually reached his desk, Mnangagwa did not sign it but referred it back to Parliament for reconsideration after he raised reservations about certain aspects of the Bill.

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