War vets association risks ban under PVO law- Veritas

Chris Mahove

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) risks being banned under the proposed PVO Bill as some of its activities are not in conformity with some of the legislation’s provisions, a Veritas official has said.

The ZNLWVA is registered as a Private Voluntary Organisation in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05].

A Private Voluntary Organization is defined as any body or association of persons, corporate or unincorporated, or any institution, the objects of which include or are one or more of the following—

(a)the provision of all or any of the material, mental, physical or social needs of persons or families; (b)the rendering of charity to persons or families in distress; (c)the prevention of social distress or destitution of persons or families; (d) the provision of assistance in, or promotion of, activities aimed at uplifting the standard of living of persons or families; (e)the provision of funds for legal aid;(f)the prevention of cruelty to, or the promotion of the welfare of, animals among others.

Addressing a media workshop on the PVO Bill in Harare last week, Veritas Consultant,  Brian Crozier, said the Bill prohibited Private Voluntary Organisations from engaging in political activities, yet the ZNLWVA is an appendage of the ruling ZANU PF and actively participates in the party’s political activites.

“The proposed Bill will hinder the operations of PVO’s in the country, and even the ZNLWVA risks being banned as it does not comply with the provisions of the Bill,” he said.

Clause 5 of the Bill allows the Registrar to cancel PVO’s registration if it engages in political activities, i.e. supports or opposes a political party or candidate.

“This is unconstitutional because it violates sec 58 of the Constitution (freedom of association); again it is excessive and irrational. It violates sec 67 of the Constitution, which gives every Zimbabwe citizen the right to form political organisations and participate in their activities,” he said.

He said Clause 7, which allows the Minister to suspend the committee of a PVO if it has ceased to operate, or if it is acting illegally, or “if it is necessary or desirable in the public interest” was also unconstitutional because it violated section 58 of the Constitution on freedom of association, noting that the ground of public interest was vague and excessively wide.

“It violates sec 68 of the Constitution (fair administrative action) in that the Minister can appoint a provisional trustee for a PVO without affording the PVO a hearing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Veritas Programs Officer, Lizwe Jamela said they would challenge the Bill at the Constitutional Court should it be passed into law.

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