This paper aimed to assess the relations between the state and civil society in Zambia in the last thirty years of the country’s plural political dispensation. The study sought to establish the extent to which both the state and civil society regard each other to be genuine associates to the cause of national development. The areas of study focus were on human rights protection, adherence to the rule of law, economic accountability, and transparency. In the wake of greater importance being attached to good governance practices globally, these relations are critical to the realization of human development of citizens. Data for this study were collected from secondary research sources through academic journals, scholarly books, reports, and online publications. The study showed that the relations between the state and civil society are not conducive to advance development. The study also revealed that on one hand, cheerleaders of government see civil society as being dogeared with a belligerent anti-establishment prejudice, while on the other hand, civil society argue that the state’s abuse of power and lack of respect for human rights is retarding Zambia’s quest for transformation into a modern state. The study concluded that the absence of strong political institutions has encouraged a continuation of bad governance practices by the state. Civil society therefore needs to strengthen its agency by forging new and otherwise unconventional collaborations with other stake holders. It is only by expanding the network of synergies that civil society will be able to successfully champion the cause of the citizens.
Keywords: Advocacy, Constitutionalism, Donor support, Human rights, Trade Unions