A consortium of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has expressed disappointment with the manner government wants to proceed with the registration of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) under the NGO law which they claim is depraved and lacks credibility.
The CSOs however stressed in a joint statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today that they are not opposed to the idea of being regulated by an Act of Parliament.
They stated that their position is that the legislation ought to be used to enhance transparency, accountability and independence of NGOs so that Civil Society Organisations could increase space in their operations and existence, which they said is not the case in the current state of the Act.
They said the move by the Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health Dr Joseph Katema 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 want to call upon the President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata to intervene in this matter as he cannot continue to remain on the terraces while the civil space continues to be muzzled by his government,” they stated.
They said the PF government while in opposition sided with the CSOs in rejecting the NGO Act saying they now wonder what has changed in the Act now for the new government to rush for the registration of the NGOs before repealing the law.
They said the Civil Society Organisations are not demanding anything from government which is outside of the promises it made to the Zambian people and Civil Society in particular.
The statement was signed by representatives from the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR), Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD), and Panos Institute of Southern Africa.
Others were the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia Chapter, Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Zambian Voice, Operation Young Vote (OYV) and the Non-Governmental Coordinating Council (NGOCC).