Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)’s proposal to have a national referendum on the constitutional alongside the 2016 general election has shocked its Grand Coalition partners.
The Grand Coalition on the constitution vice chairperson Beatrice Grillo has said that it was shocking that YALI had a different view point on the constitution road map which they did not table for debate and consensus.
She said the coalition was shocked that YALI as part of the Grand Coalition decision making and working team could allegedly betray the people of Zambia with their proposal.
Ms. Grillo said the conduct by YALI had taken the Coalition aback and that the proposals made by YALI president Andrew Ntewewe did not reflect the aspiration and objectives of the consortium.
“We have received those new proposals by Mr. Ntewewe with shock and the people of Zambia feel so betrayed because he has departed from the main core to have a new constitution before the next election.
“His proposals did not reflect the position and the aspiration of the Grand Coalition and the people of Zambia who are the main stakeholders or the owners of the document which they want released now. Therefore, he has taken us and the fight for the new constitution aback,” said Ms. Grillo.
She said the behaviour of YALI was not only shocking but also strange in the sense that they were part of the decisions and activities of the Grand Coalition.
“The proposal by YALI to have the 2016 elections under the same constitution is not only shocking but also strange to the people of Zambia we are speaking for. The group has been taken aback by Mr. Ntewewe’s proposal which does not reflect the consortium’s aspirations,” she said.
Ms. Grillo also said that the consortium was studying the document by Mr. Ntewewe before issuing a comprehensive statement on the matter.
“We will issue a comprehensive statement once we study the proposal as you know YALI is one of our members so we want to find out what he is up to. We were taken by surprise by the proposal by YALI because we just saw it in the media,” she said.
Mr. Ntewewe has submitted to government a proposal that a national referendum should be held alongside the 2016 general election. “Through a negotiation process, the master plan provides for validation of the final draft constitution. The rationale is based on the fact that Zambians should not shy away from negotiating the provisions that have caused the impasse on the constitution making process while government must not remain mute but instead should provide leadership and direction on the matter,” Mr. Ntewewe said in his submissions.
Ms. Grillo also said that the Grand Coalition would go back to the drawing board to re-strategise on the next cause of action after YALI’s alleged betrayal.
“The hooking will continue but not today. We have to go back and re-strategise and re-plan on the next move. Yes, we feel betrayed by one of our members but that is not the end. We shall keep on fighting for the release of the new constitution,” she said.