NGO draft Bill to bring in best practices, government urged to take it up

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The Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (CNGOs) in Zambia has implored the government to take up the draft NGO Bill with no changes saying citizens stand to benefit from it.

In a statement, the Council’s Chairperson McDonald Chipenzi recently said that CNGOs’ mandate also involves developing, adopting and administering the Code of Conduct for NGOs.

He said this facilitate and coordinate the work of NGOs operating in Zambia.

He expressed the Council’s thankful to the favourable gesture by the Cabinet of approving in principle the Repeal and Replacement of the NGO Act No. 16 of 2009.

Chipenzi pointed out that as a statutory entity established by an Act of Parliament – the NGO Act No. 16 of 2009, the Council is grateful at the levels of cooperation between itself, the individual NGOs, and the government.

“Since the launch of the National Policy on the NGOs in Zambia and the election of the new CNGOs in October 2018 with the subsequent appointment of the 20 member diversely selected and Civil Society led Technical Working Group (TWG), a lot of ground have been covered(though not at a pace the Council would have loved) towards reaching the goal of having a repealed and replaced NGO Law,” he said.

He added; “The CNGOs understands too well the healthy but also critical collaboration amongst the members of the TWG and commends the strides made this far that include drafting of the Layman’s NGO Bill through one of its members – the Zambia Law Development Commission (ZLDC) and the national wide consultations for comments and input from stakeholders.”

Chipenzi said last year a comprehensive NGO Policy was drafted and sensitisation through its NGO provincial forums across the country was carried out, as well as the consultations on the Draft Bill.

“Whereas the CNGOs in Zambia applauds the approval to go ahead with the repeal and replacement of the NGO Act No. 16 of 2009 by government, it would further like to make a passionate appeal to government through Cabinet should accept the Draft NGO Bill as would be from the NGOs and stakeholders themselves without alterations as the document would not only be a reflection of the aspirations of the sector but that the Government generally and the citizens particularly stand to benefit greatly from a robust NGO regime,” he said.

“The CNGOs is grateful to the cooperating partners that include the Germany Technical Corporation (GIZ), the European Union (EU), SIDA and Action Aid Zambia among many for coming on board in these endeavours.

“Furthermore, the CNGOs would like to make an earnest appeal and a clarion call on all NGOs (local and international) to take this process as golden and factor some activities, in their programming, to make submissions/input to the Draft NGO Bill, 2019. The CNGOs would endeavour to ensure and see that NGO(s) singularly or collectively is left behind and/or out,” he added.

Chipenzi said it was the CNGOs’ considered view that all being said and done, the outcome would be a light of admiration and best practice not only on the continent, but the world at large.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31