USAid Zimbabwe acting mission director Priscilla Sampil said that any law passed by the Zimbabwean government that restricts the operations of Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) and NGOs will negatively affect vulnerable people.
Speaking to NewsDay on Thursday after the Senate passed the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill, Sampil said USAid has provided US$4.5 billion in support to Zimbabwe since 1980. She said:
USAID remains committed to working with and supporting the people of Zimbabwe through assistance programs that promote a more resilient, inclusive, and democratic society.
This work is conducted through international partners as well as local PVOs and NGOs to ensure they benefit the people in need.
Without commenting on the contents of any proposed legislation, we note that anything that restricts the ability of these organisations to operate, and anything that creates a sense of trepidation or uncertainty among them, is likely to be unhelpful.
USAID has provided over $4.5 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe since 1980. US investments of more than $1.3 billion since 2006 to fight HIV and AIDS have contributed to an 80% decline in the annual number of HIV-related deaths.
The PVOs Amendment Bill now awaits President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s assent to become law.
The Bill has been criticised by opposition parties and civic groups who argued that it will restrict the democratic space.
The proposed law will reportedly give broad powers to the government to control the operations of civil society organisations (CSOs).