UPND Secreatry General Steven Katuka says the party has already started receiving applications from people who wish to contest the Katuka parliamentary seat which fell vacant after Patricia Mwashingwele’s death.
And Katuka says the people of Katuba cannot vote for PF as the ruling party does not have a sellable message.
In an interview, Monday, Katuka said the party was ready to retain the Katuba seat, disclosing that six people had so far applied to contest.
“I can confirm that we are participating in Katuba, not only participating; you know that that was our seat. In a civilised society or in developed democracy, there was no need for a by-election in Katuba, we should have been replacing the candidate because the mandate that was given by the people of Katuba was not only to the person but also to the party. And the period we were given was five years and that has not yet elapsed. Otherwise, we are ready for the by-election and we are going into Katuba to get back our seat,” Katuka said.
“We have already started receiving applications, people have already started applying even before we announce. We have already received more than 6 applications from people who would want to stand on our ticket in Katuba but as you know, the seat has not yet been declared vacant by ECZ, so we are cautiously moving to ensure that we wait until the right time then we can do the interviews and pick the candidate, but our structures on the ground are already preparing.”
He said the only way PF could win the seat was through the use of violence and intimidation.
“The PF have got nothing to tell people about. The economy is a disappointment and the whole governance system is a disappointment. So any reasonable person knows that PF is a failed project, so there is no message that they will give to anybody that would make them listen and vote for them. You know that the only way they win an election for them is to move in with pangas, with their police scaring people with live ammunition and teargas and hoping people do not vote. You have seen a lot of apathy in these by-elections, and the reason is simple; they go in to scare people, beat up people, fire live ammunition. It is now a norm in Zambia that a police man can just at anytime fire live ammunition in the air, it never used to be that way,” Katuka said.
“Having participated in all these by-elections, we have seen that it is in every by-election that violence has been a norm. And our friends in PF know that is the only way they would survive. You heard their new found friend who was part of them; Innocent Kalimanshi who was appealing to President Lungu to send him to Katuba. What can Kalimanshi tell people in a campaign? Can Kalimanshi stand on a podium and address a crowd? He can’t, but we heard him saying Katuba will be a grave yard for HH. So, is that campaigning or war? So that is a battle front and of course that’s the PF way of life. For them wherever there is a by-election, there has to be violence, without violence it is difficult for them to win any election.”
Katuka said his party hoped to have a peaceful by-election in Katuba and it had already advised its supporters against violence.
“You know that we have gone through these things, we don’t even need a strategy. If we are saying we need a strategy, it means that we are looking at how to counter violence; that means it will be violence for violence. You remember in Chilanga it was declared ‘panga for panga’ but we are not declaring Katuba ‘panga for panga’; all we are saying is that we should be able to pump sense in some people. Ours is to tell the people in Katuba the message that we have, I think that’s what is important for us; politics is not war, we should be differing in ideas only. So we should have a peaceful election in Katuba, we have even told our members already not to engage in violent activities, we want to have a peaceful election. We don’t want to see people to go there and cause violence. We are not a violent party, you all know which party is violent and in the most unlikely event that we are attacked, we are human beings, we will defend ourselves,” he said.
Meanwhile, Katuka said President Lungu should rename the Zambia Police Service to Zambia Police Force because the police have been using force on people instead of serving them.
“Maybe I can even take advantage of this interview to appeal to President Edgar Lungu to bring back the Zambia Police Force that was done away with when we realised that it was necessary, that we needed a system that was user friendly; that’s how it was changed from Zambia Police Force to Zambia Police Service. But looking at the behaviour of the Police, they qualify to be a force, not a service because they are not serving anybody. So I appeal to him now that the environment is like this, to just call it a Zambia Police Force so that it suites with the way we are being treated by the police,” said Katuka.