3 January 2013

Zambia: State Raps 'Self-Respecting' CSO, Church Leaders

GOVERNMENT has observed that some civil society organisations (CSOs) and Church leaders are determined to ignore the fundamental realities of governance for selfish motives regarding the Public Order Act.

Chief Government spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni said the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) and Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) in particular were issuing statements that were "inflated and lopsided" on the Public Order Act.

"It is clear that the EFZ executive director Pukuta Mwanza and FODEP's McDonald Chipenzi are determined to ignore the fundamental realities of governance for selfish motives.

"To suggest abuse of power by the State especially on the Public Order Act is the worst form of lies and deceit that can ever come from two self-respecting leaders of the civil society that claim to mean well for the country," Mr Sakeni said.

The two organisations have recently been issuing media statements condemning Government on the implementation of the Public Order Act.

Mr Sakeni, who is Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, said aggrieved organisations should seek audience with the Minister of Justice on matters such as the Public Order Act.

"This exhibitionist aura they crave to generate around themselves will not help in addressing any substantive issues they seek to resolve with the state," he said.

He said the stance taken by the two organisations only assisted in exposing their "familiar" political affiliation and agenda.

He challenged the two organisations to state their political affiliation as opposed to hiding behind principles and convictions of the groups they represent.

Mr Sakeni reiterated that the Government did not in way interfere in the independence of the police.

"This is because the Executive seeks to see law enforcers uphold professionalism in their service to all citizens regardless of their status.

"If it is Rev Mwanza and Mr Chipenzi's submission now that the Public Order Act must be amended, surely they know what route to take instead of these wanton attacks on the State," he added.

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