Joint CSO Statement dated Monday 10th February 2020 on the Threatened Abolishment of ‘The University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers’ Union (UNZALARU)’
By JOINT CSO-Zambia
THE undersigned civil society organisations are gravely concerned by the moves by Government to abolish the University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers’ Union (UNZALARU), purportedly for “unbridled insults” from the Union. We note that UNZALARU has been critical of the Government on various issues relating to the governance of the country. Whilst civility is encouraged in engaging with the Government, the attempt to abolish UNZALARU appears to be a measure to curb dissent. This is very worrying in a country that purports to be a democracy where the market place of ideas should be allowed to flourish and where criticism of Government should be a natural part of the democratic discourse.
We further note that the trend by the government to try and silence critical voices in the country is growing. Most notably in the recent past the Government attempted to dissolve the Law Association of Zambia and to abolish student unions at our public universities. It is our considered view that such attempts to stifle alternative perspectives and provision of checks and balances, can lead to the emergence of authoritarianism and the continued shrinking of the civic space. We therefore wish to call on government to immediately halt this trend and allow citizens to freely participate in the governance processes of our country at various levels. This is every citizen’s treasured right and freedom in the spirit of leaving no one behind.
We stand in solidarity with UNZALARU and wish to reiterate our resolve and commitment, as part of the larger civil society, to continue championing the entrenchment of tenets of democracy and good governance in Zambia.
Signed for and on behalf of the undersigned civil society organisations:
ActionAid Zambia, Alliance for Community Action, Caritas Zambia, Chapter One Foundation, CISCA
Centre for Trade Policy and Development, GEARS, NGOCC
No. 1 of Plot 6941
Suez Road, Cathedral Hill (Next to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross)
P.O. Box 51378 Lusaka, Zambia
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