Newly-elected UPND Sesheke member of parliament Romeo Kang’ombe says his victory is just a snippet of the election revolution that Zambia will see in the 2021 general elections.
And Kangombe, who will be the youngest parliamentarian at 32, said he would not describe the Sesheke by-election as free and fair, because there was too much violence involved.
In an interview, Thursday, Kang’ombe said he emerged victorious in Tuesday’s by-election because he was the peoples’ choice.
Kang’ombe also condemned President Edgar Lungu’s sentiments during his campaign rally in Sesheke, Monday, that government would not take development to the area if people did not vote for the PF candidate.
“This victory is not just for Sesheke, this victory is not just for Zambia, but the whole world because we have people in the diaspora who have been inspired by this victory! Zambians in the diaspora, who are hoping to see change in terms of our governance system for the development of this country. This election victory is an epicentre of the revolutionary transition that will take place in 2021; it has started from here. People of Sesheke have shown that Zambians are ready for change; they are tired of the PF lies and their failure to transform their livelihood for the better,” Kang’ombe said.
“I managed to emerge victorious because I am the peoples’ choice, UPND is the peoples’ choice. I won because I work for the people of Sesheke, I have been with them since 2011, I have been working, I am attached to the grassroots. There is no single ward where I can fail to point at a project that I have done for the people of Sesheke and as such, the people were not only voting for the UPND, but they were also voting for the candidate. People of Sesheke were teargassed, and sadly, I lost my dad, he couldn’t withstand the teargas, he inhaled a lot of teargas! But it was not only my dad, but just yesterday, we lost another old man, who was actually a victim of teargas.”
Kang’ombe also condemned President Lungu’s sentiments during his campaign rally in Sesheke last Monday.
“There is a fund prescribed by the Constitution for every constituency in Zambia, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF); we will develop the constituency firstly through CDF by working on some projects that can be done using CDF. I strongly believe that we shall get help from the Zambian government, I am not calling it the PF government because this government is for the people of Zambia and everyone who is a Zambian must have a fair share of the resources of this country. I don’t care whether the Minister is for PF, I will knock at his door and present the problems of the people of Sesheke because they are just servants of the people like I am,” Kangombe explained.
“It is my democratic right to contest on any political party of my choice and that shouldn’t hinder development to be brought in my constituency. And I believe that was just one of the campaign rhetoric from the President, soon as I start working, I will be moving to the necessary ministries and present the problems of Sesheke. For those projects that I can do using personal resources, I will work on them because I have been doing that even before being elected as MP.”
He also complained that despite emerging victorious, the by-election was not free and fair because it was characterised with violence and intimidation by the PF.
“The elections were characterised with a lot of violence, I think people saw it. On my side as a candidate, I have been intimidated all the way even before nomination. The PF tried to buy me, they offered me money, which I refused! Then, they came up with trumped up charges to try and arrest me, but they couldn’t manage because there was nothing wrong I did. On the day of nomination, they tried to block me, I think the intention was to disqualify me, which they failed! And after nominations there was a lot of violence, our youths were attacked, we had situations where PF cadres put on UPND regalia, they engaged in violence and later got arrested by the police,” Kang’ombe narrated.
“But that didn’t end there, the following day, Edgar Lungu was in Ethiopia and as per programme given to us by the ECZ, we wanted to proceed to a certain ward where we were expected to conduct campaigns, but we were teargassed, cadres came and harassed us, people were beaten! So, in all fairness, I would say the election was not free and fair because we had civil servants such as District Commissioners and Ministers who were campaigning using government resources! So, we cannot say the elections were free and fair, we complained to the ECZ, but the ECZ being a toothless bulldog, they couldn’t bite, they couldn’t do anything!”
And Kang’ombe cautioned youths wanting to join politics to avoid the temptation of corruption.
“I would want to tell fellow young people who wish to join politics to go there not with the intentions of bettering their own lives, but with the intention of serving the people who are suffering. If I wanted to better my individual life and that of my family members and friends, I would have gone to PF because their offers were very lucrative, but I turned them down because I was focusing on a bigger and important objective of serving the people of Sesheke,” said Kang’ombe.