TWO opposition political parties have pulled out of the Grand Coalition on a people- driven Constitution because it’s current agenda is allegedly contrary to the objectives of its formation.
This brings to three, the number of organisations that have renounced their membership to Grand Coalition in less than a week.
The political parties that have pulled out are the National Restoration Party (NAREP) and the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM).
NAREP president Elias Chipimo said at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that his party was prompted to pull out of the coalition after what he termed as the un-ceremonial departure of Alliance for Better Zambia (ABZ) president Fr. Frank Bwalya.
Early this week, the ABZ announced that it had pulled out of the Grand Coalition to pursue other interests.
On its part, the Grand Coalition announced that it asked ABZ to leave because its leader, Father Bwalya violated one of its principles of subjecting the new Constitution to a referendum.
In the January 20 Presidential campaigns Fr Bwalya who supported the candidature of President Edgar Lungu was quoted during the campaigns saying the referendum was not a priority in coming up with a new Constitution.
The NAREP leader said Fr Bwalya’s pullout from the Grand Coalition raised serious concerns about the political agenda of those who were behind his removal.
Mr Chipimo told a media briefing that such a development was both troubling and unacceptable.
“As of today, NAREP is no longer a member of the Grand Coalition. We are hereby officially pulling out of this grouping,” he said.
Mr Chipimo said his party would not be “party to the pursuit of personal political agendas” over an issue as important as the Constitution.
He however said NAREP would remain fully committed to seeing a new Constitution in place before the 2016 general election.
Mr Chipimo said his party shall wage the Constitution war in an environment free of “narrow partisan agendas” and involve the people. ZDDM president Edwin Sakala accused the Grand Coalition of being used by the United Party for National Development (UPND).
“The truth is that the Grand Coalition is a tool being used to get at the Patriotic Front Government. Those who have been following the statements and actions of this organization of late will see clearer that it has a hidden agenda,” he said.
Mr Sakala said ZDDM was disappointed that Fr Bwalya was ejected from a Grand Coalition meeting.