THREE candidates have successfully filed in their nominations for the Kapiri Mposhi parliamentary by-elections slated for April 23rd, this year.
The Ruling Patriotic Front (PF), opposition United National Independence Party (UNIP) and United Party for National Development (UPND) candidates successfully filed in their nominations after they all satisfied the requirements with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
PF candidate Eddie Musonda was the first to lodge in the nominations at 10:50 hours followed by UNIP’s Francis Mwape who filed his papers at 12:20 hours. UPND candidate Lawrence Zimba was the last one to file nomination papers at around 13:50 hours at the Kapiri Mposhi old Civil Centre today.
PF candidate Eddie Musonda, who was flanked by nine supporters, arrived at the nomination centre in the company of senior PF members that included party’s Election Chairperson Sylvia Masebo, Geoffrey Mwamba, Gabriel Namulambe and Willie Nsanda witnessed the filing in of nominations.
Others included former Youth and Sports Minister in the MMD Gladys Nyirongo, former MMD Kapiri Mposhi Member of Parliament Friday Malwa and hundreds of PF sympathizers.
Mr. Musonda, a former civil servant at the Lusaka District Health Management Office, said in a n interview after filing in his nominations that he was confident of scooping the seat.
And UNIP candidate, Francis Mwape said he would prioritise working on the road network and water problems in Kapiri Mposhi.
Mr. Mwape also said he would work hard to entice companies to set up industries in the area to create employment opportunities for the people, mostly the youths.
He said he was not threatened by the large followings that accompanied other candidates who filed their nominations but claimed that UNIP was popular in Kapiri Mposhi district adding that his victory is guaranteed.
Mr. Mwape was accompanied by a small number of supporters to the nomination centre.
“I am not threatened by PF and UPND because my party UNIP is still popular and enjoys massive support from the people because of the good agriculture policies put in place by President Kenneth Kaunda.
Meanwhile, UPND candidate Lawrence Zimba assured the electorates in Kapiri Mposhi that he will continue from where he left when his seat was nullified.
Mr. Zimba said unlike his opponents in the race, he already had a plan to develop the constituency for the benefit of the local people.
“I am an indigenous Kapiri Mposhi resident so I know the problems in the area. I am going to win under the UPND and I will develop this constituency because I already have a plan having served as MP for this place before… I know where to start from,” Mr. Zimba said confidently.
Meanwhile, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema urged his party members to go flat out and peacefully campaign for Mr. Zimba.
Mr. Hichilema reiterated his condemnation of the violence that rocked the just ended Livingstone and Mpongwe parliamentary by-elections.
He also thanked the MMD for pledging to support Mr. Zimba in the election noting that the opposition existed for unity of purpose.
He dismissed assertions that his party had entered into a pact with MMD but explained that the two opposition parties were merely working together for a common cause to remove the PF from power.
But when asked why there was no presence of senior MMD leaders to give solidarity to the UPND candidate during the filing in of nominations, Mr. Hichilema said his party was working and cooperating at higher level with the MMD.
“The MMD is represented here and we are in constant consultation with its top leadership including the party president and they have supported the candidature of Mr. Zimba on the UPND ticket,” Mr. Hichilema explained.
The filing in of nominations was characterised by part slogans from participating political parties who were clad in their party regalia.
The Kapiri Mposhi parliamentary seat fell vacant after the Supreme Court nullified the election of Lawrence Zimba, then MMD, as area MP following a successful appeal by ruling PF losing candidate in the 2011 general elections, Eddie Musonda.
The PF has since re-adopted Mr. Musonda to re-contest the seat while the UPND has adopted former MP, Lawrence Zimba while UNIP has floated Francis Mwape.