By Isaac Mwanza and Andrew Ntewewe
A source from within British Council has revealed to YALI that the reported fraud by some named NGOs in the country is meant to turnish the credibility of the institutions seen to be in support of the government.
The source who refused to be named said the named organisations were accused of getting unaccounted for money so as to promote electoral malpractice and ensure that the PF return power in the 2016 elections.
He explained that the information making rounds on social media has not been interogated to get the facts as most of it is hearsay as opposed real issues and facts.
Upon investigations this reporter uncovered a letter written to the British Commissioner by ZCSD Executive Director Lewis Mwape accusing the British Government of funding some organisations to change the leadership in some NGOs so that the new leaders can support the PF to win the 2016 elections.
In the letter Mr Mwape also accuses the British Council of trying to undermine the operations of some CSOs in the country.
“The action by ZAP, a British Council is an affront and an attack on the Civil Society Enabling Environment in Zambia and if left unchecked, donors in the country will be ‘engineering’ Civil Society leadership change in Zambia and will be used by ruling political parties to eliminate critical voices that provide checks and balances to the powers that be through unofficial funding conditionalities.
“We are disappointed at the turn of events that British Institutions have been attempting to undermine the existence and vibrancy of the CSOs in Zambia.
In 2010, the UK Charity Organisation almost supported government to operationalise the disputed NGO Act number 16 of 2009. This was stopped by Zambian Civil Society organisations who, through Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) as secretariat for NGO Insaka, successfully petitioned your office,” the letter reads in part.
The genesis of the reports of fraud is tied to the firing of former FODEP Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi a known UPND member who was fired by FODEP for practicing partisan politics.
But Mr Mwape disputes the fact by accusing the British Council of unfairly tageting him because he would not have been compromised.
“In this regard, we are wondering what the purpose and efficacy of funding being given to EISA (a non-Zambian organisation) is; whether it is to promote democratic elections in Zambia or the funding is to support electoral malpractice meant to disadvantage the opposition political parties, hence the fear to have Mr. MacDonald Chipenzi, alleged to be a member of an opposition political party, at the helm of FODEP; and would have not allowed this evil agenda succeed.
“Civil Society in Zambia collaborated with British Council in shaping the Zambia Accountability Project’s (ZAP) direction at inception. We are even more dismayed by the fact that only a few Zambian civil Society organisations have directly benefited from these funds. The indirect support to FODEP has unfortunately been abused by ZAP’s indirect interference in FODEP management.
“This, for us, is unacceptable, especially coming from an organisation promoting good governance and the liberties and freedoms of the citizens. If truly there was evidence of partisan affiliation, the affected individual could have been engaged without directing other parties to terminate a Director’s contract as condition to release funding to EISA and later to FODEP,” the letter further reads.