PF Deputy Campaign Manager in the Bahati parliamentary by-election, Emmanuel Chungu, says people in the area would suffer the same way the people in Chipili are suffering if they decide to reject the ruling party’s candidate and vote for the opposition.

Speaking during the PF Media Interactive Forum in Mansa, Wednesday, Chungu who is also Mansa mayor said Bahati was not developed because former MP Harry Kalaba, who is now opposition Democratic Party leader, concentrated on his presidential ambitions instead of serving the people.

And PF candidate Charles Chalwe says he does not need to be a resident of Bahati for him to deliver development in the area.

“Surely you don’t need to say that it should be the opposition that must win the elections, we are not changing Presidents here, it’s a parliamentary by election. So it would be naïve for one to say that ‘we need to put an opposition candidate’. How is he going to work with the President? Look at how things are in Chipili where people felt an independent candidate would actually perform better than somebody from the ruling party, people are crying. So here you need to create a good relationship with people that you are working with,” Chungu said.

“What led to this situation here in Bahati was lack of concentration by Harry Kalaba to deliver to the people. His pre-occupation was to unseat Edgar Chagwa Lungu. Now the question would be ‘you failed to finish a small clinic, two or four rooms, you fail to finish a one by two classroom block, it’s at slab level, how are you going to manage the country? So this is why we are telling our candidate that concentrate on what you can do for the people of Bahati.”

And PF candidate Charles Chalwe said he did not need to be a resident of Bahati for him to deliver development to the area.

“The issue of me not being a resident of Bahati can never ever be true. But, I don’t think it will be right to limit the type of people that should be vying just because they have to stay in Bahati. First of all let me tell you this, the insinuation that I have never lived in Bahati is not true because I was born in Bahati, I went to school in Mansa at government schools. And during the time we were growing up, there were no high schools and colleges in Bahati, unless they are saying I should have just restricted my self to staying in Bahati, which could have prevented me from having the tertiary education that I have now, which would have also prevented me from developing into a person I have become today,” Chalwe said.

“So I think that issue doesn’t hold water because to serve people, you don’t even have to be a resident of that particular area. I have stayed in Bahati myself, I have a house in Senama and I have a lot of people that know me there.”

At this point Chungu interrupted to remind the audience that even Kalaba and Mansa Central MP Dr Chitalu Chilufya were not residents in their constituencies.

“Even the former MP Kalaba never resided in Bahati, he was staying in Lusaka. Yes he may have been born in Mansa district but he never lived in Bahati, later, I think after being in the office for 3 years or so, that’s when he built a house and the house is occupied every time he visits Mansa. What I am saying is that it is not about one staying in an area, it is the heart that one has for the people. Let’s talk about Dr Chitalu Chilufya, he spends 90% of his time in Lusaka but things are moving together with you people. The issue is that Dr Chitalu Chilufya has a heart for the people,” Chungu said.

Continuing with his remarks, Chalwe said he was going to fill the gap that was created by Kalaba whom he accused of having forgotten about people in the area.

“Kalaba was telling people that ‘Kalaba talaba’ (Kalaba doesn’t forget) but Kalaba has forgotten his own people. So when Kalaba forgot about his own people, there was no link between the central government and the people of Bahati. That is the gap that I have come to fill in,” said Chalwe.