Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew Ntewewe says his organisation will not change its name as it was legally registered in 2011 as a company under the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA).

This follows a complaint from Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) RLCSA Zambia Chapter led by Wilfred Chilufya who wrote to PACRA requesting that the Agency compelled Ntewewe to change the name of his organisation, arguing that the Zambians registered YALI was not part of the Barrack Obama Initiative.

But Ntewewe told News Diggers!, Tuesday, that his YALI was also inspired by the former US president, which was registered in 2011 as a company and had a very good working relationship with the US Embassy in Lusaka.

He vowed that his organisation will not change its name as no one could compel such an action.

“Why should we change the name in the first place when the organisation was already registered here in Zambia on the 6th of January 2011? How do you change the name of a company, for what reason? We are representing the views of YALI, which is registered under PACRA here in Zambia. It is registered under the Companies Act here in Zambia; it has been in existence for the past 8 years here in Zambia. So, which views are we misrepresenting? I work with the direction of the YALI Council and the YALI Council makes decisions. We don’t even know what that organisation is. Because what we are hearing is that ‘no it is registered in South Africa and so on and so forth’ this is Zambia and YALI is registered in Zambia,” Ntewewe explained.

“So, our question is that: ‘who are they? Where are they registered? Are they even a company or are they an organisation? I wish to make it clear that YALI is an independent organisation. We are a very responsible corporate citizen and everybody has been aware of that. The entire YALI Council is about YALI alumni members. Some of us are IBEOP, others are Washington YALI Mandela fellows and so on and so forth. We have had very good collaboration with the Zambia Alumni Association with different presidents who’ve been at the Alumni Associations so we don’t even know where this whole thing is coming from! But the most important point to mention is that YALI is a registered organisation, Company Limited by Guarantee, and nobody can stop us from operating as YALI, what locus can they use to stop us operating as YALI? We patented this organisation and we have been working, it’s like somebody wakes up today and tells that: ‘I have formed News Diggers! today, so you stop operating as News Diggers!’ does it work like that?”

He said claims by Chilufya and his group were misplaced as he did not even know him in person, adding that he felt like he was fighting with a ghost because he had never met the leader of the rival NGO.

“They are totally misplaced, you would have also asked them who they are; are they a company? Are they part of the YALI? Unless they are members of YALI they can come and complain. We have members and directors of YALI, and we have made this very clear. We do not sponsor young people to go to USA unless when we have funding, but we are registered in Zambia. I have never met that person; I have never seen him before, we don’t know them. So, it’s been very difficult, it’s like you are fighting with ghosts in the air!”

“Even now as I am speaking with you, we have been discussing with the Embassy and there is something we are working on with the Embassy. But we are not affiliated to the U.S government. YALI is independent; it was born out of the inspiration of president Obama. And this happened after president Obama’s forum in 2010. Our first 3 life members of YALI went to meet president Obama in the US in 2010 and it was from there that we formed YALI on the 11th of January, 2011 and we have been in existence for 7-8 years, and we have had a very good working relationship with the Embassy,” explained Ntewewe.