The Patriotic Front (PF) has called on the government to amend the Societies Act in an open, transparent, fair, and established manner.
Zambia Monitor reported on Tuesday that the Registrar of Societies had issued a 60-day ultimatum in which all registered political parties should hold their elective conventions or face deregistration.
PF Chairperson for Information and Publicity, Emmanuel Mwamba, said the government through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security should avoid crafting laws and regulations targeting an institution or persons.
During a media briefing held in Lusaka on Wednesday, Mwamba described the subsequent amendments to the regulations through the Statutory Instrument (SI) Number 592, giving the society more powers by the Ministry as cowardly and illegal.
“In relation to Section 3 (2) of the Societies Act Chapter 119 of the Laws of Zambia, Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu on May 9, 2023 issued a new Statutory Instrument Number 592,” he said.
Mwamba said under the SI, the Minister had issued fresh directives that the Registrar shall enforce and ensure that all registered societies in Zambia are compliant with the Constitution of Zambia, the Act and their respective Constitutions.
He noted that the Chief Registrar shall ensure that where an elected office bearer resigns, dies or was removed from Office for whatever reason, such a society should hold elections for the appointment of the new office bearer within 30 days from the issuance of the directive.
“We should remember that earlier, the Chief Registrar of Societies, Thandie Mhende, said her office had no powers to supervise or compel a political party to hold its elective Convention,” Mwamba said.
He also claimed that the Chief Registrar further said that there were no repercussions to be enforced from her office when a political party failed to abide by its own constitution.
Mwamba said his comments were in response to Matero Member of Parliament and suspended member of the PF, Miles Sampa who gave the Chief Registrar seven days to order the PF to hold an Extra-Ordinary General Conference.
“On April 25, 2023, the Registrar wrote to the PF warning that the party will face deregistration for failure to comply with an earlier Order issued on March 21, 2023 to avail a full and complete list of the Office Bearers,” he said.
Mwamba said Chief Registrar of Society claimed that the PF had only submitted three office bearers instead of 10 as required by the law.
He alleged that this was mere political mischief as the party had submitted a full list of office bearers as approved by the Central Committee that was held on April 17, 2021, at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
“This was after the party successfully held a General Conference at which it elected the President and Members of the Central Committee for the five-year period from 2021-2026,” he said.
Mwamba said to satisfy the fresh demands from the Chief Registrar, the party proceeded to submit more names beyond the ten required by law accompanied by certified copies of National Registration Cards, fingerprints and Curriculum Vitae.
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