KABWE Central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube says some of the Non- Government Organizations can be dangerous to the peace of the nation.
And Justice Minister Given Lubinda says the Non- Governmental Organizations amendment bill is aimed at strengthening their role and eliminating chances of being used for terrorism financing and illicit financial flows.
Speaking when he debated the Non-Government Organizations (amendment) Bill, Thursday, Ngulube said there was a lot of liberty in Zambia because the PF government was very tolerant.
He said in some countries ,an NGO could not stand in the face of government and call for its removal.
“I will mention that NGOs are part of the civil society and in every society, we expect that these NGOs should operate within the confines of the law. It is worrying to hear one of us, one of our members of parliament expressing some sort of lack of understanding on what an NGO is. I am aware Mr Speaker that in every country in the world, people have rules and regulations. And some of these NGOs can be dangerous to the peace of a nation. Some of these NGOs can be used to destabilize civility in politics. They can be used to masquerade to be churches or to be an orphanage when in actual fact they are involved in practices that the international community would not entertain. So when someone says this government does not want NGOs, I think that person would actually be mistaken because under the PF government we have more NGOs operating and they are all operating freely. Under the leadership of his Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, we have not heard of an NGO being closed for reason that it is critical to government,” Ngulube said.
“We have seen when Bill Number 10 was being debated how NGOs turned into political parties. We saw some political parties hiding under the name of NGOs demonstrating outside here at Parliament. Unless people are not appreciating, there is a lot of liberty in Zambia now because this PF government is very tolerant. In some countries, an NGO cannot stand in the face of government and call for the removal of government and you walk home smiling. Just in our neighboring countries, if you are an NGO, stick to your lane. So those political parties we know who have been trying to climb the mountain in reverse to take over power from this government will climb another mountain next year. Because you cannot use NGOs to destabilize the peace of this nation, to pass on misinformation.”
Ngulube said with or without NGOs, the people of Zambia knew which government was better.
“There is no country where you can run a country without knowing what an organization does. So if you are not involved in any criminality or terrorism, why would you be scared when government is talking about criminality? Why would you be scared when government is talking about terrorist funding? Come 2021, with or without NGOs, the people of Zambia know which government is better, which presidential candidate is better than the other. We also know some NGOs have been antagonistic to every government that comes we don’t even know what they want. Even if those political parties who are climbing mountain in reverse wake up and form government after 70 years, these NGOs will still fight them because they do not know exactly what they want,” said Ngulube.
And Lubinda said the law was not targeted at stifling NGOs.
“I was tempted to comment when I heard that this bill is aimed at stifling the space of NGOs. When we were coming up with this law we actually did consult the NGOs world and the NGOs participated in coming up with this law. They themselves understand that this law is not targeting them at all. This law is a as a matter of fact strengthening their role in eliminating chances of being used for terrorism financing and illicit financial flows. Let me also make it clear that it is not only NGOs that are involved in this process, it is many other entities that are referred to in the Financial Intelligence Centre act as reporting entities. The board here of the NGO be a reporting entity so that in the event that they discover working in collaboration with the FIC, if they discover any suspicious transactions, they would report to the FIC centre,” said Lubinda.
“I would like to remind all of us that political parties also ought to be treated as reporting entities. This is the reason why article 60 of our constitution provided that there must be prescription of law to check the financing of political parties. And I can assure you that pretty soon, that law will be brought so that political parties are accountable to the people of Zambia on how they are funded because we are aware there are some of the political parties that survive on funds that are illicit and that has to be stopped!”