By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA, NAKUBIANA SHABONGO and DELPHINE ZULU –
THE opposition Green Party of Zambia will contest the forthcoming presidential by-election and has floated its leader Peter Sinkamba as the party candidate.
Mr Sinkamba was unveiled as presidential candidate alongside the release of the party campaign strategy at a press briefing held at Amigos Restaurant in Nkana East in Kitwe yesterday.
He immediately called on acting President Guy Scott to announce the date for the elections.
“The acting President Guy Scott needs to announce the date of the elections without further delays,” Mr Sinkamba said.
He said the date was critical because it enabled players in the elections to plan properly in terms of campaigns.
Mr Sinkamba also cited the need to convene a stakeholders’ meeting soon with the view to waving the Public Order Act because it was disadvantaging political parties from conducting effective campaigns, as the law required them to give 14-day notice to hold meetings.
The Green Party was more than ready to participate in the presidential by-election and assured that as a party, they would demonstrate that they were full of innovative ideas capable of transforming the economic and social fortunes of the country.
Mr Sinkamba who announced his party’s theme as ‘Legalise it to grow the economy and end poverty’, boasted being capable of making the country begin to earn an extra US$15 billion in revenue annually if they formed government and implemented some of the key policy reforms.
Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) has endorsed Hakainde Hichilema as its presidential candidate and called for a peaceful and fair election.
UPND vice-president for Political Affairs, Canisius Banda said Mr Hichilema’s candidature was ratified by the party’s National Management Committee (NMC) and all its Members of Parliament (MPs).
Dr Banda, who expressed confidence that UPND would win the election, said Mr Hichilema would provide a new breed of leadership.
Dr Banda implored political actors to exhibit peace and campaign fairly during the upcoming election.
The UPND has pledged to among other things reduce mealie meal prices, accelerate the pay up of external debt, maintain bursaries and provide free education.
Meanwhile, MMD leader, Nevers Mumba has said there is no presidential vacancy in the party, which certain members are thinking to hijack.
Dr Mumba said it was clear that the party held its convention in 2012 where he was elected as party president with a five-year mandate and that the party Constitution did not state anything on adopting another Presidential candidate.
“There is no presidential vacancy, we elected one party president in 2012, who is automatically expected to contest this Presidential election because I am still alive serving the party, there is no vacancy,” he said.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Dr Mumba said his stance to contest in next year’s presidential elections was not debatable and asked other members to abide by the party constitution.
He cautioned those contemplating to compete with him to desist from such selfish ideas and that whoever was habouring such intentions would create enmity and confusion in the party which was now preparing for campaigns.