National Democratic Congress (NDC) Copperbelt Province Chairman Chipoka Mulenga has accused the ruling Patriotic Front of engaging in a smear campaign against its adopted Roan Constituency candidate Joseph Chishala ahead of next month’s parliamentary by-elections.
Last week, a group of youths led by suspended Kitwe NDC district Chairman Stephen Chewe stormed ZNBC Kitwe studios, complaining that the adopted NDC aspiring candidate for Roan was not the party’s preferred candidate, and that he was not a resident of Luanshya.
The group of youths, who alleged that Chishala’s adoption had left the party divided, also said that they would not campaign for Chishala or even vote for him because he was single-handedly appointed by NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili without consulting the party.
But in an interview with News Diggers! Mulenga said Chewe and the people that accompanied him to ZNBC were being used by PF to destabilise the NDC and make people believe that Chishala was despised by Roan constituents.
“The position of the party is that, none of those people that went to ZNBC are residents in Luanshya. That woman who was calling herself Mutale Mutale, she said she was constituency secretary, but it’s not true! The constituency secretary is on the ground as I am talking to you with the leadership of Luanshya, fully campaigning for our candidate. The man that led that team [to ZNBC] is Stephen Chewe, he’s the suspended district chairperson for Kitwe. That was his second time to use ZNBC to disparage Dr Kambwili and bring the name of the party in disrepute. But ZNBC has never at any one time covered NDC, all they do is carry negative statements regarding the NDC. So, this Chewe, since Dr Kambwili started working with NDC, they have been using him to fight Dr Kambwili in the courts, but they have failed because NDC keeps getting stronger,” Mulenga said.
“So, what they have done now is to go inside our inner-circles. Chewe is a resident of Kitwe, not Luanshya. In politics, a district chairperson is concerned of the affairs of his district. Chewe is based in Kitwe and his jurisdiction ends in Kitwe, not Luanshya. Unfortunately, he has fallen prey to the works of the enemy that have started to use him to destabilise the party. But the more he does that… people are alive to the fact that there is an invisible hand using him and we are getting stronger by the day. That’s why they (PF) even got people staged and got them to Kitwe studios to purport that they are constituent leaders.”
Mulenga explained how the decision to adopt Chishala was arrived at unanimously.
“To address the candidate they are saying was imposed on the people of Roan by Dr Kambwili, I am the one that was even chairing the panel of the interviews. We had the constituency to interview them, the district to interview them…my interest as provincial chair was to make sure that we selected a viable candidate and Joseph Chishala emerged to be the best candidate among them all that we interviewed. Joseph Chishala is a miner who has lived all his life in Luanshya until he lost his job as a unionist that never agreed with the Chinese on the way they were treating miners. Among those that were fired, Joseph Chishala was a unionist. Joseph Chishala only went to Solwezi for work, his family is still in Luanshya. Even when we went to investigate, which person we thought was best, the people of Luanshya said ‘we need a person who is a replica of Chishimba Kambwili’ and Chishala was kicked out of employment because of the people, among other good attributes that he brought to us,” explained Mulenga.