[By Mwaka Ndawa, Emelia Phiri and Oliver Chisenga]
NATIONAL Democratic Congress leader Chishimba Kambwili says his party and the UPND will withdraw participation in the Chilubi Island parliamentary by-election if the Electoral Commission of Zambia will not advise the PF to release the ferry.
Kambwili charged that the PF were trying to rig the by-election by having exclusive use of the ferry in order to prevent their opponents from having access to the island.
“The Minister Northern Province (Lazarous Chungu) is quoted in one of the newspapers denying that there is no manipulation of the election in Chiluba Island,” he said.
“The ferry we were told has been booked by the PF for 20 days, meaning that in these 20 days, no private vehicles will be transported from the main land to the island. That simply means all the opposition political parties will not have transport to do campaigns in the next 20 days. And you know that this campaign is only three weeks, when you knock off 20 days from three weeks you are only remaining with one day for you to campaign. What nonsense is that!” Kambwili wondered.
He said the PF ought to know that elections must be won on the basis of fair play.
Kambwili indicated that it was nonsensical for the PF to book the ferry belonging to Zamtel, a parastatal, as the company would act based on instructions from government.
Kambwili disclosed that he had a meeting with UPND leader Hakainde Hichikema and reached a consensus that if the two parties do not campaign as a result of the PF not releasing the ferry to enable them transport their vehicles for campaigns, both UPND and NDC would pull out of the elections.
“You know the distances in Chilubi are so vast that from one area to another is about 120 kilometres, how do you expect people to move on bicycles and on foot to campaign? So this is rigging of the worst kind and if the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ ) is not going to sort out this problem of the ferry, where the provincial minister is saying ‘no, it breaks down from time to time’, you knew there was going to be elections, why didn’t you repair the ferry?” Kambwili questioned.
“How come PF vehicles are already in Chilubi? You can see that it is a manipulation. How did PF manage to cross their vehicles? There is no single opposition vehicle, all the vehicles that are on the Island are from PF. That is rigging.”
Kambwili said the onus was on the ECZ to sort out the matter amicably failure to which both UPND and NDC would pull out and allow the PF to go unopposed as to them (PF) winning an election is being very popular.
He further warned Kabwe Central member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube to avoid disrespecting elders because they do not hold similar opinions to that of his on certain national topics.
” Professor Ndulo yesterday gave an analogue of issues in the Public Order Act (POA) and today Ngulube goes to the newspapers and tells him ‘shut up Ndulo’. Mwaice wandi amenso yabantu yalalya (my young brother public show off brings about downfall) Elo mukusamwa emufuma lilalila (misbehaving leads to grief),” he said.
“Have respect for other people. Professor Ndulo was right, the current Public Order Act, what we have been crying about is the interference by the police, because the current Public Order Ac does not provide for the police to approve a permit for a rally or a demonstration. Now in the new law that you want to take to Parliament there is a section, which is saying the police have to approve. So when people say this is not correct, this is dictatorship, you want to insult them! Iwe mwaice Tutwa necakukulya calibula (young man, there is nothing to eat you up), bwe bwe bwe bwe bwe (blabbering). Are you the only PF? Keep quiet.”
Meanwhile, the UPND, PF and NDC successfully filed in nominations for the February 13 Chilubi by-election.
The by-election was necessitated by the demise of PF’s Rosaria Fundanga.
NDC candidate Henry Mushimu Kalenga said the by-election would give electorates of Chilubi an opportunity to liberate themselves.
Kalenga served in Chilubi as district commissioner between 2010 and 2011.
He was an aspiring candidate under PF in 2016 but the adoption was given to Fundanga.
He joined the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2018.
Addressing his supporters soon after filing his nomination, Kalenga urged the people of Chilubi to teach the PF a lesson owing to their thieving, foolishness and failure to deliver on their promises.
The UPND is fielding Stanislaus Chele, who stood as an independent candidate in 2016 and emerged second to Fundanga while the ruling Patriotic Front has adopted former Kaputa district commissioner, Mulenga Fube.
Chele is retired teacher, who is respected for his long serving career.
Meanwhile, PF deputy national mobilisation chairman Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba declared that no stone would be left unturned.
“Our approach to this by-election is simple; it’s hands on from today till we escort our candidate to Parliament. We shall cover the breadth and width of this vast constituency, delivering our message; day and night,” said Mwamba. /SM