Parties dig in for Katuba by-election
By Staff Reporter
Political parties are readying themselves to participate in the July 30 Katuba parliamentary by-election.
PF says nine people have applied, wishing to contest on its ticket.
Antonio Mwanza, who is PF deputy media director, would go into Katuba Constituency with a campaign message of bordering on development.
“I wish to report that nine candidates have applied to contest on the Patriotic Front ticket. That just shows how popular the party is. That’s why there is all this enthusiasm by a lot of people to try and contest on the Patriotic Front ticket,” Mwanza said in an interview yesterday.
“The Central Committee of the party will be sitting this week to deliberate on the process of selecting a candidate. The Patriotic Front is driven by the fact that the selection of candidates has to be by the grassroots.”
He explained that the PF’s campaign message would be very clear to the people of Katuba that for a very long time, “they have voted for the opposition political parties.”
“Katuba has been in the hands of UPND for a very long time and it is very clear that it has been under-developed, despite the massive amounts of constituency development funds that have been going there,” he said.
“The outcry from the opposition [that he PF will engage into vote-buying] is baseless and it is a sense of defeat that they are sensing. No wonder they have started panicking. The Patriotic Front has always run a very clear campaign; we are not going to engage in violence, we are not going to engage ourselves in vote-buying. We are going into Katuba with a clear message of development.”
Mwanza noted that the PF campaign team would tell the people of Katuba what its member of parliament would do for the constituency.
“We are going to tell them that the members of parliament for UPND have failed to develop Katuba, despite all efforts have been receiving from government,” noted Mwanza.
United Prosperous for Peaceful Zambia (UPPZ) president Charles Chanda, when called on the matter, said: “We’ll definitely be participating.”
Chanda claimed that the UPPZ had people in Katuba and structures and that it were those who requested that: “we just have to contest.”
“The reason is that they are not prepared to vote for anybody else but only the UPPZ candidate. These are preparations we are making towards 2021 and people need to know about our readiness to govern this country,” Chanda noted.
“We are serious and this is the reason we have participated in almost all the parliamentary by-elections; we participated in Mangango, Kasenengwa, Bahati, Sesheke and Roan parliamentary by-elections. We are a force to reckon with and we are a recipe for peace!”
He added that the UPPZ had never been involved in any violence: “like our friends who spill blood and all those things.”
UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma disclosed that the opposition’s party had personnel in Katuba, “working on the ground.”
“I know that the women have formed groups and they are in Katuba working very hard. The youths are also in Katuba and have formed groups. The top leadership has been engaged in Katuba; president Hakainde Hichilema himself has been quietly in Katuba. So, we are on the ground working,” Kakoma explained.
He rated the UPND’s chances of retaining the Katuba seat highly.
“Our chances [of winning the seat] are very high! People are just concerned about the underhand methods that the PF is using. For example, they are busy offering people money in exchange for National Registration Cards and voter’s cards,” said Kakoma.
“Those dirty tactics are used to either disenfranchise possible UPND voters or indeed to entice them to vote for the PF.”
People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Mayele Banda could not answer numerous phone calls to him.
The Katuba by-election was necessitated by the death of its UPND member of parliament Patricia Mwashingwele on May 2 this year.