EFZ disowns civil society organisations over demos

THE Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) has dissociated itself from the alliance of civil society organisations that are planning to protest against the acquittal of former president Frederick Chiluba.

In a letter to co-ordinator of a coalition of 17 CSOs, EFZ executive director Pukuta Mwanza said his organisation had not participated in any of the activities of the pressure group since its inception.

“We demand an apology from the conveners for including the name of our organisation on the initial list of participating organisations without prior confirmation or approval,” he said.

Rev Mwanza said the EFZ executive committee recently met and resolved that it would not take part in the activities of the 17 CSOs and did not support the stand taken on the acquittal of Dr Chiluba.

He said former executive director Paul Mususu was consulted on the matter but he refused to commit the organisation to the alliance.

He said that EFZ pulled out of the Oasis Forum because it was formed to fight the third term bid and that later the alliance became fragmented and failed to provide a unified direction on the National Constitutional Conference (NCC).

Meanwhile, a cross-section of Zambians and church organisations have condemned the planned countrywide campaigns against the acquittal of Dr Chiluba, saying the action is a recipe for anarchy.

During a random survey conducted in Lusaka yesterday, ordinary citizens and members of the Church said it was not appropriate for the CSOs to agitate for countrywide demonstrations over Dr Chiluba’s acquittal.

A commuter, Alick Tembo who was found at Millennium Bus Station said it was pointless for the civil society organisations to continue agitating for demonstrations when the money alleged to have been stolen by Dr Chiluba would not be recovered.

Mr Tembo said the CSOs should learn to demonstrate over issues that were genuine and would benefit the citizenry.

Mr Mubanga Kasonde, a retired civil servant said it was not good to protest over the acquittal of Dr Chiluba when people could go to court.

Mr Kasonde said there was no way the organisations could demand the removal of the vice-president over a matter that could be handled through other means.

James Mvula, a bus driver said the CSOs were supposed to advise the youth against protests and should not be in the forefront agitating for protests.

Mr Mvula said when bus drivers staged a demonstration against anything, it was the same organisations championing protests that were quick to condemn and bring in issues of human rights.

International Fellowship of Christian Churches (IFCC) president Simon Chihana said Zambians should not be swayed by the leaders of the CSOs whose objective was to cause anarchy in the nation.

The Centre for Elections and Governance (CEG) Zambia said the acquittal of Dr Chiluba was in order and the Government reserved the right not to appeal against the acquittal.

CEG trustee Gershom Musonda said in a statement, the decision to demonstrate against the acquittal was an indication that the CSOs were vengeful.

He said that it was equally wrong for the civil society organisations to demand the resignation of Mr Kunda and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga because the two were merely performing their constitutional duties.

Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) overseer Peter Ndlobvu said the insistence by the CSOs to demonstrate showed that they wanted to satisfy the desires of their masters.

Bishop Ndhlovu said the desire of the CSOs and their sponsors was to cause confusion in the country.

He said Zambians should shun the demonstrations as they were financed by foreign countries whose goal was to cause trouble in the country.

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