National Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili says he is proud of the way his party performed in the just-ended local government by-elections in both Lubwa and Lwingishi wards of Kitwe and Mansa, respectively.
And Kambwili has congratulated the UPND for retaining the Katuba parliamentary seat, while mocking the ruling Patriotic Front for losing, saying it was impossible for them to bribe a whole constituency.
In an interview, Kambwili said it did not matter that the NDC did not win any of the two seats in the just-ended Local government by-elections, explaining that the elections were not about how popular a party was, but rather how much it had at its disposal.
“Our performance was splendid! And I want to thank all our operatives in the two wards. One thing you should know is that, the dynamics of a by-election are not the dynamics of a general election. In a by-election, there is more than 50 per cent apathy, meaning, therefore, that most of the people who vote in the general election, who decide things on merit, don’t usually participate in the by-elections because they know that in the by-elections, no matter what you do, it does not change the government of the day. Secondly, there is a lot of corruption that is done by the ruling party, usually, and when you look at the ward, it’s very small, which means that when the ruling government like the corrupt PF take a lot of its resources there, they can bribe almost every voter! Like in Mansa and Lubwa wards, PF was literally giving money to everyone,” Kambwili said.
“They had over 50 houses where they were preparing nshima and making breakfast and supper everyday for the people in the community to eat. That is taking advantage of the poverty that they’ve created. And when you look at the number of vehicles that were sent in a small ward, almost all the Copperbelt vehicles were sent to Lubwa Ward! You would find vehicles from Mufulira constituency; Kankoyo constituency; Roan constituency; Luanshya constituency; Ndola constituency…all the vehicles were concentrated there in a small area, which does not happen during the general elections because during general elections, everybody is on their own.”
He explained that the NDC was working with limited resources to support its officials during campaigns in Kitwe and Mansa.
“For PF, the whole country was concentrated on these two by-elections and the amount of money that was spent was a lot! But for us in Lubwa Ward, we spent only K20,000, which was used mainly for fuel and food for the people that were doing the door-to-door campaigns. In Mansa, we spent only K18,000. We don’t have the money to spend like PF has and coming out with those results when we just went in genuinely with a voice telling the people what is wrong and what we are going to do, to me, that is a splendid performance! And PF must even be ashamed; that is not the victory they can even boast about. They know that they only bought votes, they bribed the voters! But for us, as NDC, that is a great achievement,” he said.
Asked if it would have been better for the NDC to support UPND in Lubwa, seeing that they did better than their alliance partner, Kambwili said his party was on the right track.
“Excuse me, Mirriam, I have told you we spent only K20,000 in Lubwa Ward. We had one vehicle in the campaign; we don’t know how much money UPND spent, but we saw a number of vehicles that they had. So, this campaign is not about popularity, it’s about how much you spent. So, the thing of saying we should have backed our alliance partners in Lubwa and not the other way round, how about in Mansa? We performed better than them! So, it’s just a question of how much people spent, it’s not about popularity. Most of these parties, this time, are just buying voters. And the difference between UPND and NDC is not even big, so for us, we are proud of our performance,” he replied.
Meanwhile, Kambwili congratulated the UPND for retaining the Katuba parliamentary seat.
“I want to congratulate UPND for retaining Katuba seat. You see, it’s not easy for PF to bribe everyone on a bigger picture like a constituency. Well done, UPND! The victory in Katuba is for the people of Zambia and it’s for the opposition,” said Kambwili.