NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has charged that the state threatened to cripple the businesses of its preferred candidate for the Chilanga parliamentary by-election if he did not disappear on the date for filing in nominations.

And Kambwili has threatened to sue the Electoral Commission of Zambia should it fail to overturn its decision barring the new NDC candidate from filing in his nominations.

In an interview, Kambwili, who is also Roan PF member of parliament, said the NDC’s preferred candidate disappeared after the state threatened his life and businesses.

“These people are so sacred of NDC. After we revealed our candidate, they approached him and told him ‘we are going to freeze your account, grab all your property as proceeds of crime and arrest you. So we are instructing you to switch off your phone and don’t go and file your nomination on NDC’. So he disappeared, he switched off his phone and we were so shocked,” Kambwili narrated.

“He has only switched on his phone today after nominations are over. He managed to speak to one of our guys today and he said his life, business and family were under threat by the PF and the OP. So to keep peace, he followed their instructions so that he could survive.”

He said the NDC managed to find another candidate but the PF and ECZ connived to block his nomination.

“So we found an alternative candidate, Mr Edward Simfukwe. We were given to go and file our nominations with our first candidate at 12:00 hours. So because this Mr Simfukwe had to go and verify his results with Examinations Council of Zambia, we went to ECZ and told them that they should change the filing time for us and they said we should go at 14:30. When we went there, we found PF had taken over 30 buses of cadres from Lusaka and Kafue to go and file their nomination and they caused so much confusion that all the other parties which were waiting to file were chased by the PF cadres. But our candidate, because he was unknown to PF remained and he was right at the filing centre just behind where the police were standing. And PF took their time, instead of taking only 15 minutes to do their filing, they were there up to 15:00 hours. So immediately they moved out, our candidate moved in and ECZ told them that they are late. Now you can see the conspiracy between PF and ECZ for us not to file our nomination because they are so scared of us. Our appeal to ECZ is to stop playing cheap politics with PF,” Kambwili said.

NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili shakes hands with his Chilanga canadidate Webster Katongo shortly after introducing him to the press at the party secretariat in Lusaka on May 1, 2018 – Picture by Tenson Mkhala

“Usually, when people have already reported, you allow them to file the nominations. Even when you are voting, the police will stand by the last person in the queue. They have moved from blocking us from holding meetings and rallies to stoping our filing of nominations. But we have since lodged in a complaint with ECZ and if they don’t allow us to file, we are going to court to seek the court’s indulgence so that we can be allowed to file otherwise the elections must be put off until the playing field is leveled.”

Meanwhile, Kambwili refuted media reports that the entire Northern Province NDC executive had defected to the PF.

“This morning we woke up to the shock of the year where the PF wrote in their mouthpiece, the Daily Nation, that the entire Northern Province NDC executive has defected to PF. That is the biggest joke of the year and the biggest foolishness I have ever seen in my life. The man purported to have defected with people is the man I went and personally removed from position of provincial chairperson a long time ago. He was appointed by the Secretary General when he went there but there was no movement, nothing was happening and I went and personally removed him three months ago. Our provincial executive is intact and our provincial chairman is Mr C.K Mwamba. And yesterday, our entire executive was busy filing nominations for the two ward elections which are in Luanshya. So I want to tell convict Richard Sakala and his newspaper that they will not break NDC and their propaganda is only making them look foolish,” said Kambwili.