All Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been urged not to register under the new Act saying that the new law in its current form was a fraud and a threat to Civil Society Organisation’s development and growth in Zambia.
10 Civil Society Organisations said the decision by the Patriotic Front government to register the NGOs under the new Act should not be supported because the Act was a fraud and lacked credibility.
Government has directed that all NGOs should today 15th July register with the NGO board under the Ministry of Community Development in order for them to be recognised.
In a statement signed by Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD), Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), NGOCC, Panos Institute of Southern Africa, Zambian Voice, MISA Zambia and the Operation Young Vote, the NGOs demanded that the board which had been appointed to serve government’s interest be abolished.
“We want to remind the PF government that “there is nothing for us without us”. The move by the Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health to appoint and launch the NGO Board with all members appointed from government ministries except one who is an independent Consultant is misplaced, done in bad faith and lacks credibility,
“This is unacceptable and we call upon President Michael Sata to intervene in this matter as he cannot continue to remain on the terraces while the civil society space continues to be muzzled by his government,” they stated.
The consortium said it did not oppose the idea of being regulated by an Act of Parliament but argued that the legislation should be used to enhance transparency, accountability and independence of NGOs so that CSOs could increase space in their operations and existence which was not the case under the current Act.
The 10 bodies warned that they would withdraw their members who were in the NGO Council if government did not review the NGO Act as promised in the PF Manifesto.
They demanded that government should abolish the board which had been appointed to serve its interest and not the interest of the wider citizenry and civil society organisation who had been positively contributing to social economic development of the country.