Catholic church, PF alliance condemned

POLITICAL parties and some civil society organisations have condemned Caritas Zambia for allegedly forming an alliance with the Patriotic Front aimed at defeating the MMD in the 2011 general elections.

Representatives of the Operation Young Vote (OYV), Committee of Citizens, United Party for National Development (UPND) and National Democratic Focus (NDF) said yesterday that it is scandalous for a church organisation to engage in partisan politics.

Reacting to MMD spokesperson Dora Siliya’s statement that Caritas Zambia and the PF have formed an alliance which would see some of the non-governmental organisation’s co-coordinators and managers fielded in the general elections, OYV president Guess Nyirenda said Zambians should not tolerate the ‘alliance’ as it is an unfair way of seeking political office.

“The alliance, if it is true that it exists, should not be accepted. The church is everywhere and in touch with a lot of people. Therefore, it would be unfair for a political party to form an alliance with the church,” Mr Nyirenda said in an interview yesterday.

Mr Nyirenda called for a probe into the alleged alliance, after which appropriate action should be taken if the allegation is proved to be true.

Committee of Citizens executive director Gregory Chifire said the civil society organisation is disappointed with the leadership of Caritas Zambia, which he accused of departing from its original mission, by engaging in active politics.

Mr Chifire said it is immoral for Caritas Zambia to allegedly use the church to attract votes for the PF in the general elections.

He alleged that the organisation brought together all its chapters in the country at Lusaka’s Roma Parish to, among other things, discuss how campaigns for the opposition party should be conducted.

Mr Chifire said the ‘convention’ shows that the leadership of Caritas Zambia is allegedly dishonest.

“The meeting at Roma Parish only goes to expose how insincere and hypocritical the Caritas Zambia leadership has become,” he said.

Mr Chifire said Caritas Zambia has reportedly neglected its original mission to campaign for the PF which has promised the NGO some positions, should it come to power.

And UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said it is unheard of in Zambia for a church organisation to enter an alliance with a political party to help it win elections.

Mr Kakoma said Caritas Zambia should clearly state its position over the alleged alliance.

He said non-governmental organisations are not supposed to have political motives.

NDF president Ben Mwila said Caritas Zambia will be embarrassed if it is established that the allegation is true.

Mr Mwila said should the allegation be authenticated, the NGO would be better off transforming itself into a political party and form a proper alliance with the PF, instead of masquerading as an NGO.

He said if the allegation is proved, Caritas risks losing integrity.

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