The Alliance of Community Based Organisations (ACBOs) has urged the Government to reconsider the potential impact of the proposed Private Voluntary Organisations Bill which seeks to prohibit non-governmental organisations from meddling in politics.
In a statement, the ACBOs said the Bill has a negative impact on women and key populations and will be a drawback on strides made in terms capacitating marginalized societies.
“The Alliance of Community Based Organisations (ACBOs) urges pause for government and legislators to further consider the potential impact of the proposed legislation, as it needs to be fit for the purpose of protecting our democracy, safeguarding members of the community, and be unable to be exploited by governments of unknown persuasions in the future.
“Women and youth play a critical role in organising and shaping development agendas at both local and national levels. Most organisations are focusing on women, youth people with disabilities and other marginalised groups because historically they are marginalized. The gains made so far in making them to be at the centre of our national development agenda will be eroded and any future organising will be negatively affected.
“NGOs in particular CBOs are positively contributing to livelihoods of communities, the climate change agenda, delivery of socio-cultural rights by traditional leaders, policy formulation and public services delivery working closely with local and national government. The Bill will negatively affect not only CBOs work but directly affect local government’s capacity to deliver on its mandate and the lives of ordinary citizens,” noted the ACBOs
The organisations, among other issues called on the Government to create an enabling environment for society to function for the betterment of local communities.
“The government must create an enabling environment for our society to function as a democracy for the betterment of local communities through the enactment of favourable and modern legislation. The Constitution provides for the citizens to influence the political agenda and/or the political outcomes through civic engagement, and the government must uphold such provision.
“Such expressions of political interest and channels for political participation must be protected and cherished. Private Voluntary Organisations in Zimbabwe have proven to be indispensable and they perform a number of functions for the welfare of its members, the development of the country and integration and solidarity of the society and nation. They were critical during the war of liberation and are still very important in an independent Zimbabwe” noted the ACBOs.