Out going Zambia National Students Union Vice President Prince Ndoyi says the consortium of Civil Society Organizations and Church Mother Bodies calling for introduction of the Referendum are being hypocritical.
Mr Ndoyi wondered how the same organizations who choose to abscond from the process can star championing the same process they absconded from.
He explained that the people who are championing the call for a fresh Referendum could have helped the ECZ in sensitising the public as to why an enhanced Bill of Rights was important but chose to stay on the “fence” because they do not care about the masses they claim to represent.
“The Zambia National Students Union believes this consortium of NGOs and Church mother bodies are being very hypocritical on the referendum. How can they possibly be talking about an enhanced bill of rights when in the first place they absconded the process up to a point when they realised that government was going ahead with the process. They noticed that they may lose funding from their donors for failure to participate hence some of them came on board in the last minute.
“They could have complemented ECZ efforts of sensitising members of the public on the importance of an enhanced bill of rights proposed in the referendum but they chose to stay on the fence. People in rural areas expect a lot from them while they sit in air conditioned board rooms lying to donors that they are working. We think it’s too much of talking about govt this and that, it’s time we started cross examining ourselves in civil society.”
Mr Ndoyi accused the consortium of deliberately wanting the process to fail because they hide in advocacy when getting funding from donors.
“It is common sense, that had they been honest and sincere this process would have been successful. It is clear that a lot of NGOs in this country including some Church mother bodies are only in the business of making money hiding behind advocacy. When they advocate enough and government t listens they quickly U-turn saying this process is not people driven. We all know some of these people enjoy when people face injustices and challenges because that’s the only way they survive. Let us be real, what has happened in the past weeks that can exemplify any need for a referendum process which they decampaigned themselves?
“These are signs and acts of crookery and treachery aimed at hoodwinking the donor community into believing the tricks thereby donating so that they can be attending fake workshops and buying the latest utility vehicles under this disguise. We all know these people in most NGOs live extremely lavish lives contrary to the volunteer work they pretend to be doing. They are social entrepreneurs making personal profits,” he said.
He also said the referendum did not succeed because the opposition UPND campaigned against it.
“Zambians know that the referendum failed because of the opposition UPND and the NGOs that advocated for the NO VOTE, instead of saying things for what they are.”
Mr Ndoyi has however recognized the need for an enhanced Bill of Rights which will grantee certain rights to the Zambians.
“We strongly believe Zambia needs an enhanced bill of rights to address the rights of movement, freedom of expression, right to information etc. But we must not compromise that with dishonest people whose motives are bent on seeing this process fail. We want to warn them to stop these gimmicks in the future, because people are suffering and desperately need these pieces of legislation enacted to advance the living standards of people.
“The referendum failure has posed a great challenge in the critical rights like access to clean and safe drinking water, access to education, access to ICTs, access to a decent and habitable housing.
This behaviour by NGOs and Church mother bodies is detrimental to constitutional reform and poses a great threat to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs),” he said.