Minister assaulted• Freedom Sikazwe says opposition party cadres attacked him in Katuba

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Freedom Sikazwe
Freedom Sikazwe

NORTHERN Province Minister Freedom Sikazwe was yesterday beaten by suspected opposition political party cadres in Katuba constituency in Chibombo while voting in the by-election was underway.
Mr Sikazwe said he was attacked in Shifwankula area where he had gone to check on the voting process around 10:00 hours.
“They almost killed me today. The situation was so bad (such) that if it were not for quick action by a man who was in our group who had a gun, I could have died,” he said.
He said a group of people armed with screwdrivers and other weapons arrived in three land cruisers shortly before he and his entourage got on their vehicles.
Mr Sikazwe said the hired cadres pounced on him and started beating him, prompting a man in his entourage to fire warning shots in the air forcing the perpetrators to scamper.
Mr Sikazwe reported the matter at Kabangwe Police Post where he also obtained a medical report.
Meanwhile, United Party for National Development (UPND) Katuba Constituency parliamentary by-election candidate Jonas Shakafuswa was yesterday angered shortly after casting his vote when he was informed that his 21-year-old daughter, Louise was harassed by political party cadres.
In the fracas which occurred around 08:00 hours Louise, a polling agent, lost her voters card and National Registration Card.
Louise told his father that people searched her purse and hounded her out of the premises in the presence of Mr Sikazwe by people who accused her of dishing out money.
Later, UPND Moomba Member of Parliament Vitalis Mooya accompanied Louise  to the nearby Kabangwe Police Post to report the matter.
A police officer disclosed that Muchenje and Shifwankula areas recorded cases of electoral violence in the morning, prompting the deployment of security personnel.
Meanwhile, voter apathy characterised voting in Katuba. Most polling stations recorded a low at the time of opening at 06:00 hours.
A check at Kabangwe polling station revealed a short queue of about five registered voters waiting to vote.
At around 11:50 hours, Kabangwe polling station presiding officer Henry Lwiindi said voting which had 2,016 registered voters recorded 248 people as having voted. At Moomba Boarding Secondary School, only 201 out of  1,018 registered voters had cast their ballot by 10:30 hours.
At Muwanjuni Primary School, presiding officer Edward Phiri said at 11:35 hours 350 had cast their votes out of the total 2085 registered voters.
The MMD fielded Cecil Homes, while Mr Shakafuswa re-contested the seat he lost in 2011, under the United Party for National Development (UPND) ticket.
The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) fielded Moses Chilando.
UNIP’s candidate was Friday Malawo, the National Restoration Party (NAREP) fielded Joseph Mushalika, National Revolution Party (NRP) has Shakespeare Mwakamui and the Alliance for a Better Zambia (ABZ) had the only female candidate, Patricia Mwashingwele.

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