A TEAM of eminent Zambians has formed a civic organisation whose overall objective is to promote and contribute to good governance and sound management of the economy.
Launched at Lusaka’s Kapingila House yesterday, Our Civic Duty Association (OCIDA) membership cuts across all spheres of society and age groups.
Directors include Simon Zukas as chairman with Archbishop emeritus Telesphore Mpundu as his vice, Sketchley Sacika (secretary), and Ompie Nkumbula-Liebenthal.
Others are Lilly Monze, Leslie Mbula, Bautis Kapulu, and Yusuf Patel.
To assist the directors, a 10-man management committee has also been created comprising Gilbert Temba, Robert Sichinga, Colonel Cuthbert Sakala, and Sherry Thole.
Others are William Harrington, Eularia Zulu, lawyer John Sangwa, Evah Jhala, Brebner Changala, and Angela Kawandami.
OCIDA would later announce regional directors and other management committee members.
Unveiling the organisation on behalf of other members, Zukas, a freedom fighter and veteran politician, said OCIDA had already been registered with the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA).
“It is out of concern for the current social, political and economic state of our country that some of us have found it necessary to establish a civic organisation to provide a platform for free discussion of our affairs. It will be recognised that every director has at some stage played a role in public affairs,” Zukas said. “However, for the avoidance of any misunderstanding, we emphasise that though OCIDA’s activities will inevitably involve critical discussion of policy issues, OCIDA is not a political party nor a partisan political organisation. Without doubt, any unbiased person will acknowledge the precarious state of our country; a precarious state that has arisen from corruption and tolerance of it, diminishing political space, lack of inclusiveness, partisan use of the public media by the ruling party, and partisan political use by the police of the public order Act. We need more transparency from government.”
He highlighted several national issues to which government has never provided answers.
“Do we know the full story about gassing? Do we know how the degazetting of the Lusaka Forest Reserve came about? Do we know why 42 fire tenders cost the government US $42 million?” he asked. “The search for answers to questions like the above has given birth to Our-Civic-Duty Association (OCIDA), which comprises senior citizens, middle-age citizens and the younger generation. A Zambia that is truly democratic and respects the fundamental human rights of its people, enabling them to participate fully in its governance and economic development thereby creating a strong, inclusive, healthy and economically empowered Zambian population.”
Zukas said OCIDA would be officially launched later in the year.
He explained the organisation’s mission statement as, “To advocate, promote and enhance good governance practices and development of a sustainable economic agenda through active facilitation, mobilisation and transparent participation of its people.”
Zukas said there could be no development without a functional economy.
He said OCIDA would roll out all its programmes across the country.
“OCIDA plans to roll out its programmes throughout the country in order to ensure that all citizens understand and appreciate the difficulties confronting our nation, and what role they can play in revamping the economy and addressing the impasse confronting our nation. As we conclude this introductory message, we wish to state that it is abundantly clear to OCIDA, that there is immediate need to stop the blatant and unfettered corruption, which is having a dire impact on everything affecting the Zambian economy,” said Zukas. “The Head of State has in fact admitted that there is corruption in his government, but nothing further. We implore the government not to delay any further the implementation of programmes that will arrest the continued deterioration of the country’s economic condition. There can be no development nor job creation, unless the economy is fixed, so that it can create business opportunities that will be of direct benefit to the country in general, and more specifically to the young generation.”