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Council of NGOs to engage Cabinet Office on anomaly in governance

THE COUNCIL of NGOs in Zambia says it is extremely concerned by the practices of past and present administrations through Cabinet Office to deliberately exclude, in invitation, the NGOs sector at state functions.

Chairperson MacDonald Chipenzi said despite, the Council of NGOs in Zambia being a recognised statutory body under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MoDCSS), Cabinet Office had been excluding the sector since its establishment and operationalisation in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

“The recent exclusion is the recent Independence Day commemoration which took place on 24th October, where successive governments including the new dawn government have conspicuously ignored the existence and need for the representation at various state functions including Independence Day commemorations of the NGO sector in Zambia,” he said. “Ironically, these successive governments including the new dawn government found it fit to invite all, including political parties with one-man membership, but failed to extend the same invitation to the NGOs sector through its body – the Council of NGOs in Zambia. It is our sincere prayer and hope that in future, this gap and trend being perpetuated by the Cabinet Office will not continue especially that the new dawn government has promised to ensure the active participation and involvement of NGOs/CSOs in national affairs.”

Chipenzi said the recognition and respect of the body of all NGOs in Zambia in particular and the NGO sector in Zambia in general by the present and future governments and other state stakeholders in daily engagement would be cardinal in furthering cordial working relationships.

He said with the decentralisation agenda gaining momentum and promotion by the new dawn government, the role and engagement of the NGO sector across Zambia for the realisation of the fruits of “this decentralisation agenda would be cardinal indeed”.

Chipenzi said the NGO sector will be critical also for the promotion of leadership in transparency and accountability in the utilisation of government resources to be channeled to the local communities.

“Therefore, the recognition of NGO sector through its representation and platforms at district, provincial and national level by government functionaries will be critical,” he said. “As the Councle of NGOs in Zambia, we look forward to the effective and constructive participation and engagement of the NGO sector with government including its organs and institutions, donor communities, political parties and religious groups to deliver help and hope and a better Zambia, a Zambia we want to all without leaving anyone behind.”

He said the Council of NGOs in Zambia would soon engage various ministries including Cabinet Office over this anomaly in governance and the poor handling of the NGO sector in Zambia so far.

“The NGO-State partnership and complementation must not only be in the opposition and ruling parties’ manifestos and on their lips but must be seen to be practiced,” said Chipenzi.

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