Most of the aspiring candidates in the Lusaka Mayoral by-elections have expressed confidence in scooping the seat, a position which fell vacant following the death of Wilson Kalumba last month.

In random interviews conducted with a few candidates after filing in their nominations, NDC candidate Saboi Imboela expressed optimism, saying all parties participating in the elections had equal chances.

“The ruling party should know that Lusaka is not a rural place where they get K20s and K5s and buy each and every voter who is going to vote. Lusaka is very big and whatever money the PF have, I don’t think it’s enough to take around K200s to every voter. So in Lusaka each and every person [contesting] has got an equal chance. I would like to tell the ruling party that all of us have got an equal chance, if not a better chance because of the way they’ve messed up the country and Lusaka specifically. Look at how they chased the vendors as if this is not their country, they should have given them notice and alternative places to trade from. So for me, that’s one of the things I am going to address if I am elected Mayor. If you look at Lusaka now, people don’t have income so what the government should have done before chasing people from the streets, they should have had an alternative. I don’t see those people (street vendors) voting for PF, unless they want to continue suffering,” said Imboela.

“My vision, one, is proper housing and infrastructure. If you look at the way people are living especially in most of our shanty compounds, you might feel as if they are not Zambians. I will ensure that everybody in this country has the right to good housing. Then secondly, I will look at quality water and sanitation especially for the shanty compounds. We need to find a way of managing the waste. The Millennium Challenge Account is doing a very good job helping us out with water and sanitation, but I think as a council and as a country we need to prioritise that for our people. Then I am also going to prioritise youth and women empowerment.”

And PAC aspiring candidate Mundia Mukubesa, alias Petersen, said Lusaka had continued to face a lot of problems because of lack of competent leadership.

“For the past 15 years, I have used my influence in music to highlight many challenges affecting the people of Zambia. Now I feel the time has come for me to offer myself and get involved in the leadership of this country. The People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) and the leadership of president Andyford Mayele Banda believes in employment and empowerment. Voting for me as Mayor will give us an opportunity to showcase what we can do for this city and for this country. Lusaka City Council has for many years failed to deliver services to the people of this great city of Lusaka, the main problem has been lack of competent leadership with people’s interests at heart,” said Mukubesa.

“The following are the seven issues I would like to address; increasing the revenue base for Lusaka City Council, facilitating the building of modern markets and create alternative trading places for people chased from the streets; remove political interference in the running of council business; especially from markets and bus stations; enhance the clean Lusaka campaign through a proper waste management system; rejuvenate council police to supplement council police security; empower the youth; fight corruption at the council and improve efficiency.”

And speaking on behalf of UPND aspiring candidate Kangwa Chileshe who by press time was finalizing the nomination formalities, party spokesperson Charles Kakoma said the PF was dreaming when it said its candidate Miles Sampa had already won the Mayoral seat.

“For Lusaka, they are just dreaming. They are basing their victory on the past. I think what happened in the past is the past, the ground has now shifted and there are many people in Lusaka now that are upset with the PF. If you live in Lusaka and you are walking the streets going to the market, or to the bus stop, nobody is talking kindly about the PF. So I don’t know where they are drawing their optimism that they can win in Lusaka. Unless of course as they always do they are thinking of rigging, that is the only way they can win. The PF never wins on the basis of free and fair elections. They can only win by rigging,” said Kakoma.

United Progressive People’s Saviour Chishimba who spoke through party spokesperson Kizito Mukuka said he would transform Lusaka city into a “country within a country”.

Chishimba is president of the UPP but has decided to vie for the Mayoral position.

“Well, we are talking about Lusaka which is the Capital City of this country. This same City of Lusaka is the one which is the headquarters to all the ministries and also embassies. So we really want to transform Lusaka and upgrade it to the standard where it can be fit to be called a capital city. We want to build a country within a country in Lusaka city, that’s what we want to do,” said Mukuka.

Meanwhile, Chilufya Tayali of the Economic Equity Party (EEP)’s nomination was blocked yesterday when he turned up at the nomination centre after the centre was declared closed.

Tayali caused a stir when returning officers refused to attend to him as he banged on their desk in anger before storming off.