The National Democratic Congress (NDC) was on Thursday forced to apologize after being chastised for announcing its intentions to contest the Chilubi seat before area member of parliament Rosaria Fundanga’s burial.

Rosaria died after collapsing in her home on Wednesday.

And on Thursday morning, a statement attributed to NDC media director Emmnauel Malite announced that the party would contest the Chilubi constituency parliamentary by-election.

“The opposition NDC party will contest the Chilubi constituency parliamentary by-election that is yet to be announced. The Chilubi constituency seat has fallen vacant following the death of the PF area lawmaker Rosario Lubumbashi. NDC elections chairperson Menyani Zulu has, however, regretted the death of the PF MP. The NDC elections chairperson said the NDC structures in Chilubi are intact and ready to move on the ground once the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) announces the poll date. He is confident that the NDC will put up a good fight to grab the seat. Mr Zulu says that the NDC already has three prospective candidates interested in the Chilubi seat. Mr Zulu says party operatives in Northern Province will soon move into Chilubi constituency and start making preparations for the poll only after Mrs Fundanga’s burial,” stated Malite.

But after several people expressed displeasure over the party’s failure to wait for an appropriate time, the NDC media team circulated another statement saying the earlier one was erroneous.

“The NDC media team wishes to set the record straight on an earlier statement issued by the party regarding its participation in the Chilubi parliamentary by-election. The statement was erroneously shared in the first place. The NDC elections chairperson was admittedly called by some named media outlets demanding to know if the party was going to participate in the Chilubi poll. A statement in the affirmative was granted to the said media house. The NDC team admits that the said statement that has caused public outcry shouldn’t have been circulated today. This is a moral and ethical issue. The NDC media team, thus, apologizes to the Fundanga family for the misunderstanding that the statement has caused. We are Africans and perhaps the media should have waited until burial before seeking for a comment from the party over the same,” read the statement.

NDC party spokesperson Saboi Imboela urged party members to refrain from posting their opinions on sensitive matters without authority from the party.

“The NDC is appalled by a statement going round suggesting that the party will take part in the Chilubi by-elections. The late Chilubi MP Hon. Rosario C. Fundanga was our friend, mother and sister and someone we interacted with closely even away from politics. The statement doing the rounds was posted by an overzealous cadre and does not have the blessings of the party. Honourable Rosario Fundanga only passed on yesterday (Wednesday) and as we say in our Zambian tradition, her body is still warm, and to talk of by-elections a day after her passing is shocking and highly insensitive,” stated Imboela.

“The party would like to distance itself from the statement and urge all members to refrain from posting their opinions on sensitive matters before hearing the position of the party. Our members and the public should also be aware that any decision to stand in an election is made by a full meeting of the central committee and not individuals. So, naturally, no meeting has taken place yet for us to have made such a decision, therefore, such a statement cannot be attributed to the stance or general feeling of the party. We are very disappointed and sincerely apologize for the statement made by our overzealous member. The party mourns with the Fundanga family, the people of Chilubi Island and all Zambians in general.”