Katuba gets ‘dirty’

2011, Election volunteers stand by ballot boxes stored at the Civic Center in Lusaka, Zambia.jpg

MMD campaign manager in the Katuba parliamentary by-election Harold Chandalala has alleged that some United National Development Party (UPND) members are buying voters’ cards in Kamaila.
Mr Chandalala said his party has since constituted a conflict management committee which will report culprits to the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) for a further probe into the matter which could be against the Electoral Code of Conduct.
Once the names of the culprits are known, Mr Chandalala said, his party will not hesitate but report them to ACC.
“We want a level playing field in this by-election so that whoever will scoop the elections will be a true reflection of what people want in Katuba,” he said.
This is the second time a complaint is being raised against the  UPND campaign team barely days after PF campaign manager Edgar Lungu complained about increased tribaland even racist tendencies in the campaign tactics of the opposition party.
Mr Chandalala, however, did not leave any party unscathed and also accused the PF of transporting youths from Lusaka for the campaigns, an issue he said might cause violence in the area.
He said that the presence of these youths caused chaos on Wednesday in Katuba, which has not experienced any violence since the campaigns started.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said that at no time did his party use the strategy of buying voters’ cards in elections.
Mr Kakoma said that the MMD is feeling the heat of the campaigns and this why they are making such allegations.
He challenged Mr Chandalala to come up with those names and give them to the ACC.
PF deputy secretary general Bridget Atanga also denied allegations that any party youths were ferried to Katuba.
Mrs Atanga said that if this was the case, she could have known or received a report of any violence PF youths were causing.
The ACC on Wednesday launched a sensitisation campaign to voters and politicians in the forthcoming by-election in Katuba Constituency on the need to desist from engaging in corrupt activities and electoral malpractices.
ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono said in a statement in Lusaka that corruption during elections perpetuates corrupt leaders in Government who will only serve their selfish interests and not of the majority poor.
He said electoral corruption undermines the legitimacy of the elected leaders and compromises democracy.
“The commission, therefore, wishes to urge all stakeholders to ensure that the values of integrity are always upheld and for the voters to ensure that those that are elected into office are men and women that will contribute to the development of their constituency and the nation at large,’’ Mr Moono said.
Mr Lungu, who is also Minister of Defence, has expressed confidence that the ruling party’s choice, popularly known in the area as “Big Moze”, will sweep the proverbial stakes on February 25 in the tightly-contested race which some analysts are saying is a two-horse race with UPND’s Jonas Shakafuswa.
“These reports whether true or false of vote buying are not good for democracy at all,” Mr Lungu said, “they need to be thoroughly probed so that closure can be put to this matter…I am saying now like I said at the beginning of the campaign that we must emulate the peaceful and clean polls of Mansa. We have a clean candidate I know that’s why others are panicking.”
Seven candidates are vying for the seat left vacant by the death of Dr Patrick Chukusu who was an MMD MP.
In the fray are Moses Chilando of the PF, Jonas Shakafuswa of the UPND, Patricia Mwashingwe of the Alliance for Better Zambia, Joseph Mushalika of the National Restoration Party, Shakespeare Mwakamui of the National Revolutionary Party, Allan Malawo of UNIP and Cecil Holmes of the MMD.