Aspiring NAREP candidate in next Tuesday’s Chilanga parliamentary by-election Pride Mazabuka says the political situation in the constituency is calm as his team has never been attacked.

But United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia (UPPZ) candidate Francis Kope says his party is being attacked because it has gained momentum on the ground.

The duo was speaking on UNZA Radio’s Lusaka Star, Tuesday.

Mazabuka thanked the United Party for National Development (UPND) who offered to protect him and his team in an event that they were attacked in the ongoing election campaigns.

“As NAREP, we have not faced the problem of being attacked by these hooligans or cadres from these other political parties. And I am very happy that our brothers from the UPND have offered to protect us. They said ‘you guys are our brothers and we are in the opposition, should you find any time that you are in problems please do call us so that we protect you.’ So, we thank them for that gesture. And I thank God the police are doing their job there, they are literally everywhere, walking around and trying to make sure that there is peace and as of late, there has been relative peace. And the political situation in Chilanga is okay, we are all doing our level best and we are being received very well. But I am proud that the PF also have not disturbed us in any way or form. Whenever we have had rallies, they have even passed near us and waved at us and that is good,” Mazabuka said.

He said it was “exciting” that the PF team would wave at his team when campaigning in Chilanga.

But Kope said because his party was being attacked because the UPPZ had started gaining momentum on the ground.

“We have had some situations in Lengalenga, near Mulongoti’s farm, somewhere there where our supporters have been attacked and have lost a few things and at first we were not being attacked, we were not being considered. There was this issue of being under-estimated but fortunately enough, the UPPZ is a force to reckon with, we have had three rallies in Chilanga constituency in Musamba, Chinyanje and Lengalenga. At the third rally, we saw a little bit of attacks, Mr Mwanza was attacked; that is one of our chairperson in the area. And some money, about a thousand plus [kwacha] was stolen from him. Obviously, some posters and other things were taken away from him. Mr Mubanga was also attacked somewhere in Lengalenga also when he was found sticking some posters,” Kope narrated.

He further charged that PF and UPND were practicing “petty politics.”

“So, we have had this situation now from something that started peaceful because then violence was among the two political parties that are known for violence because they have vowed to have a situation of punch-for-punch. Not only punch for punch, what we have seen is pettiness among the other political parties. They are bringing out issues, which are so petty. When you go on the ground, there is some propaganda that the UPPZ candidate is supporting [a] particular political party and this propaganda has been flying among competitors. But I know that when propaganda starts flying it means you are establishing yourself. So, the people in Chilanga constituency are getting the message and we are getting there and I can assure you that I am the next MP for Chilanga constituency,” he predicted.

Meanwhile, Kope condemned the violence in Chilanga, adding that no position was worth spilling each other’s blood.

He also said his party could not be matched with PF and UPND in terms of resources, and that if resources were available he would use them to empower youths in skills development.

“And I want to state here that there is no position worth our blood, there is no position worth anybody’s blood including, a position of a member of parliament or a president. It’s not worth spilling blood for, it’s just a position and at the end of the day, we are in service. Our colleagues are trying to protect these positions with everything, they can push in everything just to have these positions. I am not worthy for somebody to spill blood and to be beaten because of me. We do not know the formula of violence. What we are calling for is…because we cannot match with our colleagues in terms of resources [because] they can hire people from Chibolya. If we had the resources right now, we could have educated the people and taken them to skills development so that they can be busy with other issues,” said Kope.