UPCOMING harmonized elections and the contentious Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) bill topped the agenda of the engagement between Zimbabwe and the United States of America with the delegation proffering concern for the proposed law.
Zimbabwe’s minister of foreign affairs Fredrick Shava held a closed meeting with visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs, Robert Scott as the latter began his series of engagements.
Addressing the media after the engagement Scott said the envoy expressed concern over the proposed PVO bill that is awaiting presidential approval to become law.
“I just wanted to say that it was important to have this dialogue today. We spoke about the upcoming elections. We all agreed on the need for non-violence for leaders to continue to call for clear, transparent elections and we spoke about the PVO bill and some of the concerns that we expressed on that,” said Scott.
The PVO bill recently sailed through the national assembly and upper house without hiccups.
Calls have been growing from civic society for President Emmerson Mnangagwa not to append his signature on the bill.
The PVO bill is perceived a hindrance in the running of non-governmental organisations as it will grant government power to interfere in their affairs.
Scott’s visit coincided with the renewal of economic sanctions by the US and European Union.
However he was mum on the embargo when quizzed by the press.
Shava said the visit by Scott provides a platform for Zimbabwe and US to deliberate on the relationship between two countries which has been frosty since early 2000s.
“We thank you for the warm welcome that was extended to me when I attended the US-Africa summit in December last year. That visit was a very positive step in the trajectory of our relations and I see your visit which closely follows the convening of US-Africa leaders’ summit in the same light as that to your country. It is significant as it affords our two countries an opportunity to share ideas on issues of mutual interest,” said Shava.
Scott will wind up his visit Friday after meeting members of Civic society and the opposition parties.