December 2014
International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law;Dec2014, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p5
Academic Journal
It has been said that the postcolonial state in much of Africa has failed to emancipate its people from mass suffering while the markets have not ensured that economic benefits trickle down to the poor. Due to the limitation of these two actors, civil society has become a sine-qua-non to development by mediating the failures of the state and the market. Ironically, though, the effectiveness of civil society in much of Africa is dependent on its relations with the state. This article looks at state-civil society relations in Zambia. While there is a plethora of issues, the article analyzes the relations using a legal lens to understand the environment within which civil society operates as well as the other cultural and political issues that impede civil society organizations (CSOs) from being independent and effective in Zambia. The study shows that the current relations between the two development actors hamper the effectiveness of CSOs. As such, civil society in Zambia lacks a sustained engagement with the government; instead it takes a reactionary approach to issues. The policy goal of this study is that the government, civil society organizations and other stakeholders will take action to improve state-civil society relations on the basis of the findings and recommendations. One way would be to reform the legislative framework for civil society and thus provide a basis for enhancing people's participation in decision-making at all levels.


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