Transparency Intenational Zambia (TIZ) has vowed not to register itself under the current NGO Act because the law was draconian and archaic and has challenged government to proceed and deregister the NGO.
TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu has advised Information and Broadcasting Service Minister Mwansa Kapeya and the Patriotic Front (PF) to concentrate on reviewing the NGO Act as promised in their manifesto as opposed to resorting to issuing threats.
Lungu said the PF government should not force NGO’s to register under the current Act because that would not change the fact that it was a bad law.
“As far as TIZ is concernd, the NGO Act remains a bad law whether 149 have been registered or not. TIZ opposed this bad law under the MMD and consistently opposes it under the PF as well. Government must know that TIZ is not going to register under the law that was strongly condemned by the PF when it was in the opposition,” Lungu said.
Yesterday, Kapeya announced that the PF government has registered 149 NGO’s with certificates of registration out of a total of 420 registered NGOs countrywide that paid and collected the registration forms.
But Lungu said TIZ had resolved not to register under the current bad law.
“We wish to insist and wish to advise the Minister of Information and the government to concentrate their enegies in reviewing this Act as promised in their manifesto,” he said.
Lungu said TIZ would only register under this law when it is repealed or reviewed adding that in its current form TIZ would not attempt to register.
And Kapeya said government’s position was clear on the registration of NGOs under the NGO Act No. 16 of 2009.
“First and foremost, government wishes to amplify the commitment it attaches to NGOs as partners supplementing its efforts in development,” Lungu said.
He said it was government’s resolve to continue to engage the NGOs through the established structures in ensuring that the relationship with the NGOs were enhanced and sustained.“Government is aware of the concerns that have been raised by some NGOs regarding some of the legal impediments within the NGO Act No. 2009 that need to be addressed,” he said.Kapeya however said the NGO Act was already law which needs to be adhered to in its current form and force.“Government has commenced the registration process of the NGOs as a way of operationalizing the Act while the review process will follow while it is being implemented,” Lungu said.Kapeya said government wished to observe further that it was the duty of the courts to interpret whether the law in question was bad.“Government is of the view that the sentiments being made on the NGO Act by some stakeholders are mere speculation as no one has been injured by the said law so far,” he said.