PVO Amendment Bill: Gutu residents fear Govt control will affect aid

PVO Amendment Bill: Gutu residents fear Govt control will affect aid
PVO Amendment Bill: Gutu residents fear Govt control will affect aid

PVO Amendment Bill: Gutu residents fear Govt control will affect aid

Gutu residents told the Parliamentary Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare that passing the PVO Amendment Bill will affect the smooth flow of aid.

Food aid that has been provided by PVOs has been instrumental in terms helping poor people in rural areas.

PVOs have also helped those affected by perennial droughts that have affected many parts of the country in the last decade.    

However, the government is introducing the PVO Amendment Bill that could alter the operations of the PVOs.

The government fears that the PVOs will meddle in politics and support its opponents campaign through aid.

PVO Bill Public Hearings in Gutu (Masvingo Province)

PVO Bill will affect smooth flow of aid

However, speaking during the PVO Amendment Bill public hearing in Gutu, a representative of the Gutu United Residents and Rate Payers Association (GURRPA) said his organisation opposes the Bill.

‘’Gutu United Residents and Rate Payers Association we oppose this amendment bill because the country is not yet able to stand on its own. We are hungry and our women who receive social welfare stay up to late hours waiting for that maize. What then if the minister gets charge of NGO money it means they will not get anything. There is a lot of money that was stolen including that for COVID-19, it is no longer there,’’ he said.

Speaking at the same meeting another participant who identified as Lovemore Mazende supported the bill, arguing that NGOs often give aid recipients conditions and that they need to be constantly checked.

‘’There is no house that does not have rules. Every house has rules. The country should have rules so that those who come in abide by those rules.

‘’What I know for fact is that these NGOs that give aid, they will tell you about the conditions for their aid, and the condition is you dance according to their desires,’’ he said.

Mazende said it was important to have rules that govern operations of NGOs, adding that if the laws prove to be bad then can be amended.

‘’So, we want this country to have rules. Let’s pass it first and see how it will work before rejecting it. Let it become an Act of Parliament and after all, we will still have the power to amend it if it fails to work. So, I support this Bill,’’ he said.

PVOs Bill will it difficult for NGOs to register

Another participant said the Bill will make it difficult for NGOs to register and that the country will likely lose some aid as the partners withdraw their funds due to the law.

‘’I do not agree with this Bill, for many reasons. The first reason is that it takes away the independence of NGOs, they will not work freely because they will be controlled.

‘’The second reason is that registration of NGOs will become difficult meaning foreign currency will be difficult to come to Zimbabwe because they will withdraw their support which means fuel, medication, and critical raw materials will be a challenge.

‘’The other thing is that corruption is going to increase because NGOs are there to expose corruption. So, if NGOs are now controlled by the government, it means corruption in Zimbabwe is also going to increase as there will be no one to check them,’’ he said.

PVOs accused of working with Chamisa

One participant accused PVOs of working with the Nelson Chamisa led Citizens Coalition for Change and ignoring other political parties.

He said his political party MDC-T which is fronted by Douglas Mwonzora is being shunned by the PVOs and therefore want the Bill passed. ‘’This Bill is long overdue; it should have come a long time ago. I belong to MDC-T which is led by Mwonzora but these NGOs when they come, they favour CCC. So, we are saying they should favour all of us, Zanu PF, MDC-T and CCC and not just choose one,’’ he said. #StopThePVOBill #StopThePVObill

PVO Amendment Bill: Gutu residents fear Govt control will affect aid