President Mnangagwa Says He's Ready To Sign The PVO Bill Into Law Once Parliament Is Done
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he is ready to sign the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill once the Parliament is done.
The Bill amends the PVO Act and the government says it will curb money laundering and PVOs’ participation in politics. It proposes harsh penalties, including jail time of up to one year for perceived offences.
Opposition legislators and human rights activists say the proposed Bill is flawed and that it contains controversial clauses that should be subjected to scrutiny and debate.
Writing in his column in The Sunday Mail, a weekly state-run publication, Mnangagwa said:
The PVO Act will put an end to foreign meddling
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I have had to stress this point because we continue to get reports of a few hostile countries that are trying, through their embassies here, to persistently meddle in, and to manipulate our electoral processes.
Today, I call them to order, warning them against challenging our hard-won sovereignty, which is embodied in all our national processes, including elections.
Quite often, these hostile countries use political NGOs they deliberately set up; they fund and run as Trojan Horses here.
It is this kind of mischief, this wanton abuse of our goodwill, which has forced us to introduce the PVO Bill in our Parliament.
I am ready to sign this Bill into law once Parliament has done its part. Those peddling or saddled with foreign interests and agendas have a lot to worry about, we will act on them once we establish they have betrayed their mandate. This includes banning and kicking them out of our country.
The ruling ZANU PF portrays NGOs as hostile entities that are pushing a regime change agenda in Zimbabwe.
If the new Bill is signed into law, critics say hundreds of NGOs in Zimbabwe may be forced to close shop.
Early this year, prominent economist Prosper Chitambara warned that the proposed PVO Amendment Bill will hit the economy hard saying NGOs are filling the gaps in public programmes and services that States have failed to perform or provide owing to limited fiscal space.