Monday, August 05, 2013

Govt won't repeal NGO Act, says Kabimba
By Kombe Chimpinde
Thu 18 July 2013, 14:01 CAT

JUSTICE minister Wynter Kabimba says the PF has no plans of repealing the NGO Act.

Kabimba's statement is in the wake of calls by 10 civil society organisations who questioned the move by the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health to set up an NGO board comprising members who are all government officials, to which civil societies will be required to register.

The civil society described the move as a threat to its operations and have vowed not register with the said board.

They called on President Michael Sata to repeal the Act, saying this was within PF's promises.

But Kabimba said in an interview that the introduction of the Non-Governmental Organisation Board which all civil societies were required to subscribe to was purely meant for transparency.

"The issue of the NGO Act is an issue that is provided for in our manifesto and we are going to do that which we said we are going to do in our manifesto," Kabimba said.

"The issue that is at the centre of the NGO Act is that NGOs, like all the other institutions of government, must promote internal democracy; we want to see accountability within the NGO movement."

Kabimba said the government wanted to ensure that NGOs were operating transparently in accordance with the values and principles that they espoused.

"There is no reason why anyone should live under fear. If NGOs are indeed doing what they claim they do, which is to represent the interests of the people, then they must be part and parcel of the democratic dispensation," Kabimba said.

"The review that we talked about when we were in the opposition, and the review we are looking forward now is purely for those principles and that is what we are going to do as government."

The civil society groups that included Zambia Council for Social Development, Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), Transparency International Zambia, Jesuit Centre of Theological Reflection, Young African Leaders Initiative, NGOCC, Panos Institute Southern Africa, Zambian Voice, MISA Zambia and Operation Young Vote said the manner in which PF wanted to proceed with the registration of NGOs was depraved and lacked credibility.

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