SHOW of numerical potency is basically what reigned yesterday as candidates filed in their nomination papers for the July 30 Katuba parliamentary by-elections.
By the end of Wednesday, only the UPND and PF had announced their candidates – Aubrey Bampi Kapalasa and Zacks Mwachilele respectively.
The United Prosperous for a Peaceful Zambia (UPPZ) only unveiled its candidate, Bertha Mangeya, right at the nomination centre – St Peter’s Catholic Parish adjacent to Muwanjuni Primary School in Katuba ward.
At about 10:55 hours, the UPND, with pageantry, and of course, with some back-up from its alliance partner, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), brought its candidate.
As if to downplay a yet-to-come display of supremacy by their rivals from the PF, the UPND supporters, in their hundreds, made Kapalasa to feel like a winner – 19 days before polling day.
Choma Central member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa is the campaign manager for Kapalasa and was there to witness the filing in of nomination papers.
Also present were UPND elections committee chairman Gary Nkombo, Sylvia Masebo, Central Province chairman Albert Chifita, Chibombo district chairman Lloyd Kayeka, members of parliament in Douglas Syakalima (Chirundu) Michelo Kasauta (Bweengwa), Princess Kasune (Keembe), Chushi Kasanda (Chisamba), Chrispin Mwiinga (Chikankata), Fred Chaatila (Moomba) and others.
Once Kapalasa had successfully filed in his nomination papers, he walked out of the nomination centre around 11:47 hours to a resounding acclamation by the hundreds of UPND supporters.
Kapalasa told journalists that once elected, he would strive to provide clean and safe drinking water to Katuba residents.
After 13:00 hours, Mwachilele, who was escorted by a huge boisterous group, filed in as the second candidate.
The ruling party’s green colour dominated, at least for the time allocated for Mwachilele’s filing in.
His campaign manager Paul Moonga, Copperbelt minister Japhen Mwakalombe and others escorted Mwachilele.
Afterwards, Moonga told reporters that the Katuba by-election was a formality as it had already been won by the PF.
He added that the participating political parties could not afford to engage in violent campaigns.
Once the PF group had left the nomination centre, Mangeya filed in quietly.
UPPZ president Charles Chanda, who escorted Mangeya, lamented unprecedented unemployment in Katuba Constituency.
At the nomination centre, police officers kept vigil and there were no clashes by supporters of rival political parties.
Katuba returning officer declared at about 12:00 hours that three candidates had successfully filed in their nomination papers.
The process was then closed and that meant the beginning of the campaign period.
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema later addressed a rally some 500 metres away from the nomination centre.
The shadow popularity for the UPND and PF was being displayed at the nomination centre but it would have to be replicated in Katuba Constituency’s seven wards.
The wards are Cholokelo, Muchenje, Kabile, Chunga, Chilo Chaba Lenje, Katuba and Mungule.
The Katuba by-election was necessitated by the death of its UPND member of parliament Patricia Mwashingwele on May 2.