FIVE candidates file nominations for Nov. 22nd Mansa Central by-election

Opposition political parties in Zambia
Opposition political parties in Zambia

FIVE candidates yesterday filed their nominations for the Mansa Central parliamentary by-election slated for November 22 this year with the perceived alliance between the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) failing to hold.
Rosemary Mwiche of the UPND and Malama Kapolyo of the MMD both filed their papers despite the two opposition parties often stating that they would avoid contesting against each other in by-elections.
Other candidates who filed in their papers are Dr Chitalu Chilufya of the Patriotic Front (PF), Charles Mwelwa (UNIP) and Albert Mwape of the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD).
Mr Mwelwa had been eyeing the Mansa Central seat on the PF ticket but the party did not adopt him and so contested as an independent candidate but is now vying for the seat as a UNIP representative.
Mrs Mwiche was the first to file in her nomination at Mansa Civic Centre.
She was accompanied by UPND Kalomo Central member of Parliament (MP) Request Muntanga, former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mutale Nalumango and former Kankoyo PF MP Percy Chanda.
Mrs Mwiche said she has decided to join the race for the Mansa Central seat to take on the PF because the ruling party has allegedly failed to fulfil its campaign promises, especially on economic empowerment of women.
“I want to help women who are suffering in the markets because many of them don’t have access to financial help,” Mrs Mwiche said as she struggled to contain the white powder sprinkled all over her head by supporters as a blessing.
Mr Chanda said the political situation in Mansa is so far peaceful and urged political parties taking part in the by-election not to import cadres from other towns to cause violence.
But it was the PF that stole the show as supporters escorted Dr Chilufya in the company of PF national chairperson Inonge Wina, Deputy Minister of Gender Susan Kawandami, Mambilima MP Mighty Mumba, Luapula Province Minister Benson Kapaya, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Nickson Chilangwa, Mines Deputy Minister Richard Musukwa, Minister of Labour Deputy Ronald Chitotela and Chipili MP Davies Mwila.
Dr Chilufya later told journalists that his chances of scooping the seat are more than 100 percent and promised to begin development programmes from where former Mansa Central MP late Kennedy Sakeni left.
“I didn’t know that the people of Mansa Central are in love with the PF. They believe in PF and its manifesto and believe in their candidate and so I am their choice,” he said.
He pledged to focus on building more schools, more health facilities, enhanced access to clean and safe drinking water, good sanitation, improved agricultural yields and marketing, and better road infrastructure.
Meanwhile, MMD president Nevers Mumba said the people of Luapula are going to prove to the Zambians that telling lies does not pay.
“The PF won the elections because of lies.  This election presents an opportunity to correct things that were done wrongly by bringing back the MMD to demonstrate that it is important to deal with issues of poverty that is creeping into our country,” Dr Mumba said after Mr Kapolyo filed his nomination.
And Mr Kapolyo said he does not need to weigh his chances of scooping the seat,  adding that “I have already won this election.”
He promised to address challenges people of Mansa Central are facing, saying the MMD did its best for the constituency and could not do everything at once.
On the other hand, Mr Mwelwa said he has decided to stand on the UNIP ticket because the party served Zambians at a time the country faced serious challenges before and after independence.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has set January 7, 2014 as the date for parliamentary by-elections for Vubwi and Zambezi West and one local government by-election.
ECZ public relations manager Cris Akufuna announced the development in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday.