Church and Civil Society Unite to Resist Controversial PVO Bill

By Leona Mahachi –

In a bold move to safeguard the nation’s democratic freedoms, a coalition of fifty leaders from Church and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) across Zimbabwe convened a high-level dialogue in  Harare on May 21, 2024 to develop a united response to the contentious Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill, a piece of legislation that has sparked widespread concern among Zimbabweans.

The urgency of the meeting was amplified by recent public hearings on the PVO Bill, which were marred by disruptions, preventing fair participation in at least half of the sessions. These reports of violence and partisan interference, particularly in Masvingo, Gweru and Chinhoyi, showed the fragile state in which the country showing the deep rooted crevices that are threatening national cohesion.

“The PVO Bill is seen as a threat to our democratic freedoms, humanitarian efforts, and national unity. While it claims to prevent financial abuses, its provisions exceed international recommendations and could unnecessarily restrict the operations of civil society organizations, said one Civil Society organisation leader.”

The Church and CSOs proposed a holistic strategy to address the challenges posed by the Bill. The Immediate interventions proffered during the discussions include engaging the Parliament to call for a reconsideration of the Bill and convening a closed-door meeting with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee to discuss the disrupted hearings and present unified positions.

The Church and the CSOs have agreed to strengthen coordination among CSOs and create a unified front, raise public awareness, and engage in strategic litigation and regional lobbying. The meeting also recognised the need to initiate a national dialogue to foster social cohesion and conflict transformation.

“We are united in our commitment to resist the PVO Bill and promote a democratic and inclusive Zimbabwe. Through continuous dialogue and collective action, we will ensure a thriving civil society and safeguard the democratic freedoms of all Zimbabweans.”


The Church CSO meeting presented a platform for constant engagements between the Church and CSOs to constantly engage and discuss issues that deal with national cohesion and good governance.


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