Sunday, December 01, 2013

TIZ urges govt to revise NGO Act
By Moses Kuwema
Sat 19 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

TRANSPARENCY International Zambia has called on the government to cancel the registration of NGOs and concentrate on revising the 2009 NGO Act.

In a statement, TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu said that his organisation would not register under the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Act of 2009.

"In this vein, we call upon the Ministry of Community Development to completely cancel the ongoing registration of NGOs in Zambia. We wish to advise the PF government that the rate at which it's moving to implement the NGO Act has the potential to dent Zambia's reputation internationally, especially that the Patriotic Front in their manifesto promised to review the NGO Act, noting that it was a bad law. On page 49 of the PF manifesto, the Party clearly states that they would review the NGO Act to, among other things, enhance the role of the civil society. On this page, it not stated that the PF will first register NGOs which is contrary to the practice they have u-turned and adopted," Lungu stated.

Lungu described as false and malicious the "wrong assertions" being peddled that the NGOs were refusing to registerfor fear of being scrutinised and accountable.

He stated that this misconception needed to be dismissed with the contempt that it deserved.

"If the same PF government in their manifesto rightly pointed out the inadequacies of the NGO Act and confirmed that it needs to be revised, this is clear evidence that there is something wrong with the Act and the PF rightly condemned this Act and have just made a U-turn now that they are in power," he stated.

Lungu cautioned the Minister of Community Development to desist from projecting a picture that NGOs had not been engaging in dialogue with his office over the matter.

He stated that several meetings had been held, including an NGO
congress at which it was resolved that an NGO Board would not be put in place but rather focus on reviewing/repealing the said Act.

"All our efforts seem to be falling on deaf ears. As far as we are concerned, the NGO Act in its current form is in violation of fundamental civil and political rights to freedom of association and expression, including the right to receive and impart information, as provided in Articles 20 and 21 of the Republican Constitution, and international legal instruments to which Zambia has been ratified. We want to assure Zambians that even at the moment, NGOs are very accountable under existing laws and are required to submit annual accounts to Government, which TIZ is fully complying with," stated Lungu.

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