Government Parliamentary Chief Whip Brian Mundubile says calls to halt the Chilubi by-election are unreasonable.
And Mundubile says both NDC and UPND were not ready for the Chilubi by-election, that is why they keep crying foul at every turn.
In an interview, Mundubile, who is the campaign manager for PF in Chilubi said contrary to claims by UPND and NDC, the PF had complied with the campaign schedules.
“Those cries are not reasonable. You see, good faith must precede our deeds as political leaders. If you look at how we have co-existed in the past three weeks, we all submitted programs and approved and stamped by the police on where and when we wanted to have our meetings. So this has really helped us to regulate and avoid clashes between our members. When you you look at our programs and you look at the program that was submitted by UPND, in fact UPND’s program was only going up to to the 2nd of February; for NDC the program goes up to the 10th. But you see that where they wanted to have their meeting is where His Excellency was going to have his meetings which was not even where they had indicated on the approved program,” Mundubile said.
“You also note that State House issued a program for His Excellency five days earlier, indicating where His Excellency is going to have his meetings. By that time, we had already checked through where the opposition were going to have the meetings on specific dates and we avoided that. Now a day before His Excellency landed, they also come up and wanted to have meetings exactly in the same area where His Excellency wanted to have meetings. Of course the police could not allow that because you are dealing with the President.”
He said PF actually gave up three days of campaigns for the opposition.
“They were told that since the President was arriving on Saturday, they still had Thursday, Friday and Saturday to do their meetings and we were asked as PF to adjust our programs; we actually gave up three days of campaigns, three days of meetings from Thursday to Saturday to allow them to have their meetings.”
Mundubile said UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema complied with police instructions while his NDC counterpart Chishimba Kambwili was hounded out of Chilubi because of misconduct.
“You will note that Chishimba Kambwili, for instance, had a meeting in Chaba yet his program never showed that he had a meeting in Chaba. We stayed away, we did not contest that. It was not on his program but we wanted to co-exist and give each other chance to speak to the people. HH had a rally in Matipa [and he was expected] to have another rally in Mofu on Saturday but he was also expected to have another meeting in Chaba on Friday; we stayed away and gave them that opportunity. HH’s programs ended on the 2nd of February, they were yet to give another program so the time they wanted to give another program, His Excellency’s program was already out so they were advised on the available dates and that is how we have been functioning,” he said.
“So UPND had actually found alternative dates in between. That is what actually transpired. I was surprised that he could have a joint meeting with Kambwili because their circumstances could have been different; Kambwili was escorted out for misconduct; he didn’t want to obey. So as opposed to saying that they were hounded out; HH actually complied because he realized that he was told that ‘these are the days that you have; your friends have got these days’. When he rounded up his program, he just drove away peacefully.”
Mundubile said Kambwili was looking to make headlines.
“HH left, respecting the ground rules that we had set as political parties ourselves on the ground. For Chishimba Kambwili, as usual he was looking for headlines, he was looking for this particular headline. So he disobeyed the guidance of the police that is why the police escorted him. The police did not escort him for any other reason other than misconduct. He misconducted himself when he should have been playing by the rules,” he said.
And Mundubile said both NDC and UPND were not ready for the Chilubi by-election.
“So for me, these excuses, we actually could see through it; we expected it because they first started alleging that there was violence in Chilubi; they actually tried to instigate that violence we resisted the temptations but now they have gone further to try and push the courts to cancel those elections because they can’t stomach the embarrassing defeat that is ahead of them,” said Mundubile.
“The bottom line we must all know is that both NDC and UPND were not ready for these elections. They under estimated the amount of work that was needed. You see, the terrain here is totally different from many other terrains. Including myself, I have been involved in many of the party’s elections, this might be the toughest. It is in the rain season the terrain is not friendly because most of the areas are swampy, we have to move with canoes to access these areas. So our colleagues under estimated the work that was required.”