Centre News Reporter
CIVIC Society Organizations (CSOs) and opposition parties in the country have accused the ruling party Zanu PF of deliberately plotting the current disruptions of Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) Bill public hearings in a bid to avoid resistance from the people.
Speaking to the Centre News, civic society leaders and opposition parties say the ruling party intrigued the disruptions because the ‘draconian’ bill faces severe resistance from the general populace as it seeks to shrink the civic society space and silence dissent in the country.
Public hearings held at Highfields in Harare, Masvingise Business Centre in Masvingo and Rusape in Manicaland Province were violently disrupted by rowdy suspected Zanu PF youths.
The meetings were forced to end prematurely as the boisterous thugs threatened to beat up participants from the civic society and residents.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) chairperson, Gift Mutasa castigated the disruptions which he said were an attack meant to stifle public input.
“The CiZC is extremely concerned by the clearly organized disruptions of the public hearings. We believe this is a Zanu PF coordinated attempt at preventing citizens to air out their views on the draconian bill. The bill itself is a serious attack on democracy as it seeks to deepen authoritarian rule by silencing and interfering with civil society organizations,” said Mutasa.
He also added that citizens must be allowed to air their views without fear and called upon authorities to effect arrest of raucous youths disrupting these public engagements.
At Masvingise Business Centre on Tuesday, visibly drunk rowdy youths disrupted participants who criticized the Bill forcing conveners to end the meeting hastily.
Ruling party youths at the meeting defended the Bill as a good legislative piece that would end financing of ‘terrorism’ and ‘money laundering’ by local NGOs who get funding from foreign partners.