CSOs Petition on the PVO Bill 2021


  1. The Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill 2021 (HB 10,2021) (“the PVO Amendment Bill”) was published in the Gazette on the 5th November 2021.

  2. According to its memorandum, the PVO Amendment Bill is intended to comply with recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to Zimbabwe in relation to money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

  3. The Government of Zimbabwe is a member of FATF, an inter-governmental organisation founded to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. As a result of its membership, the Government assumed certain commitments, including ensuring that it prohibits money laundering and funding for terrorism within its territory.

  4. The PVO Amendment Bill goes beyond the realm of advancing the interests of Zimbabwe’s obligations to the FATF. Indeed the Bill violates several fundamental rights of citizens. Your Petitioners submit that the FATF obligations are addressed by existing legislation that already prohibits the financing of terrorism. In the event that there are perceived inadequacies, these can be addressed through amendments to relevant general legislation. Your Petitioners believe that the current Bill may be intended to, and certainly will, cripple the operation of civil society organisations (CSOs).

  5. Zimbabwe adopted a democratic Constitution in 2013, which among other things deepened human rights, and heightened public expectations that all institutions of government, including Parliament, would work to enhance human rights.

  6. Among the fundamental human rights and freedoms enunciated in the Constitution are freedom of association, freedom of assembly, the right to form organisations, and the right to participate in the governance of one’s country.

  7. Zimbabwe is a member of such multilateral institutions as the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU), among many others. Because of its membership in these institutions, Zimbabwe is duty-bound to protect, facilitate and ensure the enjoyment of fundamental rights by its citizens.

  8. Several key provisions of the PVO Amendment Bill are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution, as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which Zimbabwe has signed and ratified. As enunciated by UN Special Rapporteurs in their communication to His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe on 17th December 2021, these provisions also violate international human rights standards such as those protected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

  9. These provisions also violate rules and guidelines laid down by FATF itself. FATF Recommendation 8 states that countries should apply focused and proportionate measures, in line with a risk-based approach, towards non-profit organisations. The measures proposed in the Bill do not meet these standards of being focused and appropriate. In its interpretive note to Recommendation 8, FATF says that measures should not disrupt or discourage the organisations’ legitimate activities. As already stated, the Bill will cripple the activities of CSOs.

  10. A vibrant civil society is vital to democracy and good governance.

  11. Section 119 of the Constitution confers on Parliament the role of protecting the Constitution and promoting democratic governance in Zimbabwe. Your Petitioners contend that the PVO Bill violates the Constitution and is inimical to democratic governance.

WHEREFORE your petitioners pray that the Parliament of Zimbabwe will be pleased to take their case into favourable consideration and to not pass the Bill, but instead to urge the GoZ to apply reasonable and proportionate measures in terms of a risk-based, targeted approach in consultation with CSOs, to address any risks in the sector, and apply the existing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws and frameworks to the sector.  


your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray

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A vibrant civil society is vital to democracy and good governance. The PVO Bill violates the Constitution and is inimical to democratic governance.