Thursday, May 17th, 2012
For Immediate Release
The News Editor
TIZ POSITION ON MEETING OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES VIS-À-VIS THE SUSPENSION OF THE THREE JUDGES
Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) notes with great concerns, falsehoods that have been published on the online publication – the Zambian Watchdog on 16th May 2012 alleging that we have refused to meet opposition political parties to discuss their concerns on the suspension of three high court judges.
We want to set the record straight and indicate that opposition political parties wrote to us a briefing note/letter surrounding the suspension of three judges on 11th May 2012. This was followed by 3 telephone calls from representatives of MMD on Monday 14thMay 2012 and Wednesday 16th May 2012. TIZ indicated to the MMD representatives that it stood ready to meet with opposition political party leaders and requested for a formal letter requesting for such a meeting to allow the secretariat officially inform the Board of Directors. The MMD representatives in particular Mr. Tobias Kafumukache agreed to write a request letter for a meeting and bring the letter at 17:00hours on 16th May 2012 but he also contended that the letter of 11th May 2012 contained such a request for a meeting. A scrutiny of the letter in the presence of Mr. Kafumukache revealed that such a request for a meeting was not made in the said letter and Mr. Kafumukache promised to write one such letter on 17th May 2012. On the same day – 16 May 2012, the Zambian Watchdog run a story purporting that TIZ had refused to meet with the opposition political party leaders. This was brought to the attention of Mr. Kafumukache, who expressed surprise at the story which clearly was not true.
We wish to make it clear that Transparency International Zambia has no reservations to meeting any opposition political party, NGO, Government departments or indeed any person who would like to engage us on the work we do. We have since our establishment in 2001 engaged with so many stakeholders and will continue to do so. We find it unfortunate that the Zambian Watchdog appears to have an agenda of disparaging our work and the leadership of the organization.
We have, over the last three years, observed with dismay the numerous innuendoes and attacks that are perpetuated by the Zambian Watchdog on TIZ and the latest attempt is to incite members of the public to ‘report TIZ to the International Secretariat.’ This action is a demonstration of a lack of knowledge on how Transparency International operates and one would thought that this online publication, would have taken time to do their research before engaging in this fruitless exercise.
We want to advise that our doors remain open to all media houses to clarify their stories before running them and clearly in this instance, the Zambian Watchdog story or a purported scoop of TIZ refusing to meet opposition political party leaders, has no substance to it.
Transparency International Zambia has made public its views on the suspension of the three judges and we stand by the statements we have previously made. This notwithstanding, we remain committed to genuine dialogue with any meaningful stakeholder but we want to state explicitly that we are entitled, like any other stakeholder to hold an opinion on the suspension of the three judges. Similarly, we will continue to respect the right of other stakeholders including the Zambian Watchdog to hold opinions which are different from ours, and we hope that our opinion on the subject matter will be respected as well.