FODEP against withdrawing from govt led bodies

The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) says the threat by the civil society to withdraw from government-led bodies may backfire.

FODEP president Stanley Mhango says the NGO bill can still be stalled even at the this late hour.FODEP

Mr. Mhango has accused MPs of revenging on NGOs by introducing the law that would require NGO to declare their money and be liable to prosecution if they misuse funds.

He said in an interview that MPs are bitter that NGOs have been championing the call for MPs to fore-gore their mid-term gratuities.

But he said that even if that was the case, NGO s will also be wrong to withdraw from government led-bodies as that would not even have an impact. He said government would simply appoint other people to sit on the vacancies that would be created.

He said that the civil society is not just one or two NGOs talking or just those in the good governance arena. He also said that some NGOs have not been consulted over the suggestion to withdraw from government led bodies such as Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), National Constitutional Conference etc…

He said NGOs should try to dialogue with law makers instead of being confrontational as that will lead to nothing.

Earlier this week, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)  threatened to withdraw their representation from any government-led bodies, including the APRM National Governing Council following the MMD government’s move to enact the NGO bill.

The CSOs that met under the umbrella of the “NGO Insaka” also stated that they would consider legal action for the unconstitutional and illegality of the proposed 2009 Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Bill that aims at undermining the influence of civil society in Zambia.

During a joint media briefing in Lusaka on Wednesday and speaking on behalf of the NGO Insaka, Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) executive director Patrick Mucheleka said the government should exercise leadership and withdraw the Bill from Parliament.

“For a long time now, Zambian NGOs have been magnanimous to engage government in the process of enacting an NGO law that is aimed at facilitating the development of the country. Sadly, this MMD government has opted to exclude most of the important NGO submissions on the Bill,” Mucheleka said. “To reject this defective and draconian proposed law that aims at undermining our influence as CSOs, we shall immediately withdraw NGO representation on any government-led bodies including the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) National Governing Council, sector advisory groups and any such committees because why should the MMD government pretend to want NGO engagement in other processes?”

But parliament has gone ahead with the process of passing the law and on the Friday sitting, the bill passed the next stage with almost all MPs voting in favour.

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