THREE political parties yesterday successfully filed their nominations for the April 23 Kapiri Mposhi by-election.
And UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says his party is a decent organisation and appreciates the MMD's decision not to field a candidate in Kapiri Mposhi.
The ruling PF candidate Eddie Musonda was the first to file his nomination after 10:30 hours and was followed by UNIP's Francis Mwape around 12:00 hours.
UPND's Lawrence Zimba was the last to file his nomination after 13:30 hours and was accompanied by party president Hakainde Hichilema, other party officials and members of parliament.
Speaking after the PF candidate filed his nominations, PF chairperson for elections Sylvia Masebo declared that her party would emerge victorious on April 23.
Masebo said the PF was on the ground and that the party had adopted a local person to stand on its ticket.
"If you look at last time's results, PF came a good second after MMD, UPND was last. This time, MMD is not standing, there is UPND and PF and obviously PF is going to be first in this election. Secondly, we have a local candidate, who is from one of the chiefdoms in the area and is a known person here, he has businesses here," Masebo said.
Masebo said the people of Kapiri Mposhi were aware that the only party that could deliver development to them was the party in government.
On the loose alliance between the MMD and UPND, Masebo said such alliances had no bearing on election results.
"These alliances, you recall even in Chongwe, they decided to gang up, hoping that they will pull the numbers; it never works like that in politics. It is about the party and person that you are fielding and the programmes that you have, not just names of political parties coming together or leaders at the top coming together because they have seen that their chances are not there," she said.
Masebo said since the MMD had decided not to field a candidate, their members would have to decide which political party they would support and was hopeful that most of them would support the PF.
"For us, this is good because if MMD was standing, they will have somebody to support but just because the leaders at the top have decided to get into some arrangements for convenience's sake cannot change the members. The members will be looking at which party has the best candidate and I think PF has the best candidate. Come the day of voting, ask me again, we are winning this seat," Masebo said.
And Hichilema, whose party was the last to file their nomination, thanked the MMD for their position.
"We appreciate the MMD position, thank you to president of MMD, their NEC and all their members. Please, let us work together in a unified way, unity of purpose is extremely important. We want to call other opposition parties to support Mr Zimba," Hichilema said.
But when asked why the MMD top leadership was not present to support the filing of nominations for Zimba, Hichilema, while pointing to a few party cadres dressed in MMD regalia said: "They are here, there are many leaders."
When reminded that the MMD top leadership was not present, Hichilema said: "No! no! The top leadership, we have a programme with them, a lot of my top leadership are not here because they are working with the MMD. We want to reform the Electoral Commission of Zambia. We want the police to stop interfering with the elections and that is what our colleagues in the MMD are doing. In fact, on the way, I was communicating with Dr Mumba all along. if I show you my phone you will see text messages and phone calls because we want to see an independent ECZ."
And Hichilema accused PF cadres of interfering with elections by carrying guns during by-elections and that the police were supporting them.
"We want a violence-free and fair election. We want presiding officers and returning officers who are impartial. We want all of us to campaign peacefully. The loss of peace is perpetrated by the PF. We are committed to free and fair elections but everyone else must be committed," he said.
And Zimba said he had a known programme for Kapiri Mposhi, and wanted to continue with it.
"I am very indigenous in Kapiri, everybody knows that. I have been farming for some years and chances are very high. Musonda does not even stay in Kapiri Mposhi, he stays in Chongwe and I wonder why he even petitioned me. I have roots in Kapiri Mposhi," Zimba said.
Meanwhile, UNIP candidate Francis Mwape said his chances of winning the seat were high because he was a resident of Kapiri Mposhi.
"I have grown up in Kapiri Mposhi and the first thing that I will do once elected is to look at the industries and entice as many people to come and invest in Kapiri Mposhi," Mwape said.
Asked how he would win an election with only a small number of supporters that accompanied him for the nomination, Mwape said: "Coming in big numbers is not a factor to us."
Mwape said because of what he described as UNIP's coolness, most people mistakenly thought the party was dead.
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