Speaking during a media briefing in Lusaka today, TIZ President Lee Habasonda says government should immediately withdraw the letters written to Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) threatening to deregister them if they do not register under the NGO Act within thirty days of receipt of the letters.
Mr Habasonda says if the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health does not heed to calls to dialogue over the NGO Act, the NGOs will resort to other options which he could not disclose.
He states that it is imperative that the Ministry convenes an urgent stakeholders meeting to resolve the issue and thereafter send to Parliament, appropriate amendments to the NGO Act before registration continues.
Mr. Habasonda explains that TIZ is registered as a company limited by guarantee and that the question of any Ministry waking up and debarring the organization is a great concern considering that they have chosen to govern themselves within the confines of the rule of law.
He adds that NGOs will continue to reject the NGO Act as they did under the MMD regime because they believe it is dictatorial, draconian, vindictive and undemocratic.
And Mr Habasonda says there is need for the people of Zambia to understand the nature of the NGO Act so that they understand why NGOs are rejecting this piece of legislation.
He cites Section 26 (2) of the ACT which stipulates that a person who fails to furnish information in accordance with subsection (1) commits an offence is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding eighty thousand penalty units or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months, as one of the bad sections of the law.
Mr Habasonda wonders why one can be convicted for failing to unveil certain documents to government.