The Laura Miti-led Alliance for Community Action (ACA) has revealed that Chrizzina Democracy University (CDU), which joined some CSOs to defend the proceedings of the National Dialogue Forum, is not a registered higher learning institution thereby making its participation at the forum illegal.

In a statement, Monday, the ACA face checking unit outlined the steps it took to find out if Chrizzina was a real university.

“On the 5th of May 2019 a number of Civil Society Organisations participating in the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) announced the formation of the Constitutional Reform and Education Coalition (CRECO). The coalition stated its aim as “to protect the content as agreed by stakeholders of the NDF process.” The constituting members of the coalition and signatories to its first press statement were: 1. The Media Institute for southern Africa – Zambian Chapter (MISA Zambia) 2. Southern Africa Centre for Resolution of disputes (SACORD) 3. Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) 4. Chrizzina Democracy University (CDU). Having not previously heard of the Chrizzina Democracy University, the Alliance for Community Action (ACA) Fact Checking unit decided to check the existence of this university and its legal participation in the NDF,” read the statement.

“The question being verified in this fact checking process is therefore:
Is Chrizzina Democratic University a registered institution of higher learning in the Republic of Zambia and did the university legally participate in the proceedings of the NDF? Verification Process Step 1: Review the National Dialogue Act to determine which institutions were prescribed to be part of the forum as set out in the Act. Findings: This process determined that the Chrizzina Democratic University was not one of the institutions listed in Article 5 of the National Democratic Act which set out the Composition of the National Dialogue Forum. Step 2: The ACA Fact Checking Unit then checked the Higher Education website to verify if Chrizzina Democracy University appeared among the list of Higher Education institutions in Zambia. Findings: Chrizzina University is not listed on the Higher Education Authority Website as a university registered in Zambia.”

The ACA Fact Checking Unit stated that the Higher Education Authority also confirmed that such a university did not exist.

“Step 3: The unit then wrote to the Higher Education Authority to find out if Chrizzina University is a registered University with the Authority. Findings: The Higher Education Authority wrote back to the ACA Fact checking Unit stating that their records do not have Chrizzina University as a registered higher education institution in Zambia. The Authority further stated that it had not heard of the university. Step 4: Review of the provisions of the Higher Education Act Number 4 of 2013 Part VII Section 48 Article 15 (1) on the ability of a non-registered institution to operate as a university in Zambia. Findings: The law states that ‘’A person shall not operate a private higher education institution unless the private higher education institution is registered under this Act. (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding one million penalty units or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years, or to both,” read the statement.

“Chrizzina Democratic University is not a registered institution of higher learning in Zambia and is therefore not a legally registered university. The University was also not listed in the National Democratic Forum Act among the institutions set out to be part of the National Dialogue Forum. Therefore Chrizzina Democratic University does not exist as a legally registered University and was also not included in the National Dialogue Act as a delegate to the NDF. Chrizzina University therefore illegally participated in the proceedings of the NDF.”