By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA, JULIUS PHIRI and SYLVIA MWEETWA -
VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scott yesterday set the tone for campaigns for the Solwezi Central Constituency by-election with a call to the electorate to vote for Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Newton Malwa to fast-track Government’s development projects in the area.
Dr Scott said by voting for Mr Malwa, the people of Solwezi Central were assured of a direct link between them and the Government, and State House in particular.
The Vice-President said this yesterday when he addressed impressive crowds that turned up for his rallies held at Kyafukuma Primary School and St Francis area to drum up support for Mr Malwa in the Solwezi Central Constituency by-elections.
Dr Scott, who also took time to interact with staff at Kyafukuma Primary School and sub-chief Ngabanya, urged the people to vote for a candidate who would be able to work efficiently with the Government to ensure sustainable development in the area.
“I have seen what challenges you have here of teachers’ accommodation, water, road network and these problems are common countrywide but if you want your voice to be heard, you need good representation and that is an MP who is going to serve as a link between Lusaka and Solwezi,” Dr Scott said.
He said the PF was looking forward to scooping the Solwezi Central seat, especially that the party was slowly making inroads into North-Western Province.
Five political parties are contesting the Solwezi Central seat, which fell vacant after the Supreme Court nullified the election of MMD’s member of Parilament Lucky Mulusa on grounds of electoral malpractices.
Mary Katiki is contesting on the UNIP ticket, Mr Mulusa is re-contesting on the MMD, Nathan Mulonga is the FDD candidate while Dawson Kafwaya is contesting on the UPND party.
Meanwhile, the MMD in Eastern Province has expressed optimism of reclaiming the Vubwi parliamentary seat which fell vacant after the nullification of election results of the party’s Eustarckio Kazonga by the Supreme Court.
MMD provincial chairperson Alexander Miti said yesterday that the former ruling party would reclaim the seat because of the popularity of Dr Kazonga in the area.
“We have a sellable commodity as MMD because our candidate is known and people really want his services in Vubwi Constituency,” Mr Miti said.
UPND candidate Alfonso Phiri complained of other political parties engaging electoral malpractices in the Vubwi campaigns.
“Despite not having violence, a number of electoral malpractices are being committed by our friends and we are not comfortable with it,” he said.
But PF provincial chairperson Atany Mwamba said his party’s candidate Margaret Miti was more popular and ready to continue with development projects once voted into office.
Mr Mwamba said the developments which were being undertaken in Vubwi were genuine, adding that Government would not abandon the people.
UNIP candidate Lucas Phiri said he would scoop the seat because he was the best and most credible candidate.
Mr Phiri said UNIP was a party to reckon with because of its numerous developments which the former ruling party fostered when it was in power.
Meanwhile, political parties participating in the Kasenengwa parliamentary by-election are happy with the verification exercise, which was conducted at the Chipata Municipal Council chambers on Monday.
Representatives from UPND, UNIP, PF and the MMD witnessed the exercise. Kasenengwa has 41,795 voters.
In Solwezi, the Electoral Commission of Zambia yesterday commenced the distribution of ballot papers to more than 20 polling stations, and the deployment of polling agents in Mkushi South ahead of tomorrow’s by-elections.
Mkushi South returning officer Kelly Mwebe said the final results for the by-election may only be known on Friday because of the distance and rough terrain to polling stations in the Luano Valley.
Mr Mwebe was confident that all materials would be distributed by today.
He said 102 polling agents were trained to handle the elections and
was confident that the officers would serve to the expectation of the electorate.
Mr Mwebe said that about seven polling stations were located within Luano Valley and that logistics had been put in place to ferry the results to the totalling centre.
“I want to state that due to the vastness of the constituency, some results would only be ferried to the totalling centre on Friday morning but all logistics have been put in place to ensure smooth operation,” he said.