OPPOSITION United Party for National Development (UPND) has allegedly mounted a tribal campaign against Patriotic Front (PF) candidate in the February 25 Katuba parliamentary by-election Moses Chilando.
Mr Chilando has told the Sunday Mail that his UPND rival in the poll Jonas Shakafuswa is spearheading the campaign, which is allegedly not based on issues but tribe.
“That is exactly what they are doing and the one who is in the forefront is Jonas. He and his supporters are telling people on the ground that they should not vote for me because I am a ‘foreigner’.
“They are telling people that I am a muswa mashi because muswa mashi in lenje means foreigner. This is because he has nothing to show the people as to what he did when he was MP. The only thing he has is tribe,” Mr Chilando charged.
He said the late Dr Patrick Chikusu, whose death has triggered the by-election, performed better than Mr Shakafuswa.
“At least Dr Chikusu bought a grader but he [Mr Shakafuswa] just buys beer and food for the people but they have realised that they can’t survive on tribe. I am excited that people have realised the importance of working with the ruling party.
“So what I am doing now is damage control because they have been saying that I am not Zambian, I come from Democratic Republic of Congo, and I come from Tanzania. I am happy that people have realised that the UPND have nothing to offer apart from tribe,” Mr Chilando said.
But when contacted, Mr Shakafuswa said he will not respond to Mr Chilando in the media and challenged the PF candidate to go and address the people of Katuba.
“Let him come and talk to the people and I won’t talk to him in the paper. I am talking to the people and showing them what I did. If he is blind let him continue to be blind. He is only two years in Katuba and probably would not see what I did for the people.
“I found Katuba with only grade seven but today Katuba has a university in conjunction with the Catholic Church. We built a number of schools and did many projects, if he doesn’t know let him come and see. The people have seen and we are conducting issue-based campaigns. He can allege anything but results will show,” Mr Shakafuswa said.
And some cadres found at a UPND camp at Chiombe said the campaign is peaceful and that Mr Shakafuswa is winning because he is a Katuba native.
“We want Shakafuswa because we also want HH in 2016. The rest of the candidates are nothing and we will win around 06:00 hours on the polling day. We like Shakas and we can’t vote for someone who just came to settle here. We want our own,” said Joseph Phiri who spoke on behalf of others.
Phiri said contrary to some media reports, the UPND is peaceful and that the battle is between UPND and PF “because these others are almost non-existent.”
At the PF camp, Mark Kawara, a ruling party official said campaigns based on tribe defeat the whole notion of national unity, which the fore fathers promoted.
“This country does not belong to one tribe. Let’s welcome everyone because there are so many people that have settled here in Mungule chiefdom. He [Mr Chilando] is a person who has come to join us. He is a businessman with various investment interests in our area and the country as a whole.
“He is promising lot of development-talking about expanding schools, building more clinics, and improving the road network, which has been in a bad state since independence. Previous MPs did little and so expect more from this man because the population of Katuba has grown. Being the ruling party candidate, we give him 99 percent chances of scooping the seat,” he said.