[By Richard Luo in Mozambique]
A TRADITIONAL leader in Mozambique says he and other citizens of that country will travel to Zambia to vote for Patriotic Front presidential candidate Edgar Lungu on August 12, 2021.
In an interview, headman Kweze Dalisa Banda of chief Chimfombo talked about massive benefits that Mozambicans have accessed from Zambia under President Lungu’s leadership.
He said those benefits have prompted them to want to vote for him.
Banda said Zambia on two occasions came to the aid of Mozambicans by keeping them as refugees in Nyimba and Ukwimi during the time of wars in the country.
“I, as a traditional leader, and my people we will cast our vote on Edgar Lungu and his MPs because there is benefit in PF,” he said. “They treat us well in hospitals, our children receive education from Zambia. We do business from there freely even reaching Lusaka without being harassed.”
Banda revealed that his subjects and him got voters’ cards from Mpeni village and the polling station is Chokato Community School.
However, he said out of 420 people in his village only 57 managed to access voters’ cards.
He said the 57 were ready to vote for PF candidates.
“We are very much prepared to see to it that on 12th August, we go to Zambia to cast a vote. We will carry our cards to go and vote. Even mobility we have put in place but if there is anything more, we can appreciate so that people can go and vote in good numbers,” Banda said.
He expressed worry that if PF loses elections, things would not be ok because poverty levels would escalate in Mozambique.
“If Edgar Lungu loses, then problems will multiply to the level that even us here poverty levels will rise…” said Banda.
But Benard Phiri, an Induna, said people of the area desire to take part in the elections but they were scared of being harassed by the opposition.
“We desire to come and vote but we don’t know if we will be permitted in case the opposition regard us as foreigners. We are afraid but the ruling party officials have encouraged us to go and vote freely as long we have tools,” he explained. “The current President (Lungu) is ok because he takes care of the existing relations between Zambia and Mozambique.”
Phiri appealed to the PF to send campaign regalia such as branded chitenge, T/shirts and sweaters so that people master the President’s face and relate to it on the ballot box.
“…we haven’t received anything to give us power and confidence,” said Phiri.
Bernard Zulu, 29, said some youths were ready to cross into Zambia to vote.
“We are going on Edgar Lungu of PF because he has done roads, hospitals and many more which we see when we go to Zambia. We have seen the wonders he has done for Zambia,” he said.
Zulu said some residents had their roots in Zambia but had stayed in Mozambique for many years.
Recently, Mozambican chief Kaduku said the Mozambique government had urged all Zambians in that country to respect their electoral wishes by travelling to vote.
“Mozambican government will allow Zambians to go and vote for their leaders as one way to exercise their constitutional rights. They will come but we won’t allow Mozambicans to risk their lives by taking part in foreign electoral system. They shouldn’t just like Zambians here never took part in the elections of our nation…” said Kaduku.