Community Development Minister Emerine Kabanshi has no right to deregister non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are not registered under the current NGO Act No. 16 of 2009 says NGOCC chairperson Beatrice Grillo.
Ms Grillo saidf that the current NGO Act was ill conceived meant to curtail the operations of NGOs and that NGOCC would never register under it in its current form.
She said that was the reason why despite making three deadlines of registration only about 200 NGOs turned out of over 900.
“NGOCC is registered under PACRA and there is no law in the country which allows an NGO to register under two laws,” Ms Grillo said.
“This is not the first time government has was giving NGOs an ultimatum, they have done it three times and registration still poorly conducted,” she said.
Ms Grillo said most NGOs did not agree with the current Act because it was meant to be punishing the civil society organisations.
“The current NGO Act requires organisations to be registering every after five years and it gives government mandate to define physical areas of operation for NGO of which we have been saying no,” Ms Grillo explained.
Ms Grillo was commenting on government declaration that NGOs which have not registered under the current Act were no longer considered and their operations are illegal.
In a statement, Ms Kabanshi said her ministry was in the process of de-registering all existing NGO’s that did not register under the NGO Act No. 16 of 2009.
“Following the expiration of the deadline of May 5, 2014 for the registration of existing Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the Registration Board successfully approved and registered 248NGOs,” Ms Kabanshi said.
She has since urged all stakeholders such as the donors both local and internally, government institutions and other relevant bodies to take note and ensure that they work with the listed NGOs who were in compliance with the laws of Zambia.
“The ministry is also aware of some NGOs that have initiated the process of registration with the NGO Registration Board and these are under consideration,” Mr Kabanshi explained.
“Any entity is allowed to register under PACRA, Building Society or Land Perpetuation Act under the law and everyone is free to register with any,” Ms Grillo said.
Ms Grillo has since challenged Ms Kabanshi to explain to the nation what happens when an entity is registered with PACRA, Building Society or Land Perpetuation.
“As far as we are concerned the ministry of Community Development have not told us what happens if an NGO registers under a different Act,” Ms Grillo said.
She has since advised Ms Kabanshi to call for a round table meeting with all the stakeholders to discuss issues surrounding the current NGO Act.