PF SECRETARY General Davies Mwila has urged the party leadership in Western Province to take advantage of the wrangles in UPND to turn that area into a ruling party stronghold.
But the UPND has accused PF of bribing voters with mealie-meal in the just ended ward by-elections in Western Province.
Speaking to journalists, Wednesday, Mwila described the recent victories in Mongu as “sweet” saying it was an indication of people’s confidence in the PF’s developmental agenda.
The PF scooped both the Nakato Ward and Imalyo Ward by-elections in Mongu District Western Province.
In the Imalyo Ward by election, Musole Kamocha of the PF polled 615 votes UPND’s Simasiku Poice got 494 votes, while Namasiku Namasiku of NAREP got 111 Votes.
In Nakato ward by-election, PF’s Mukuti Mubiana got 584 votes while UPND’s Simataa Nosiku polled 283 votes.
And in Bulilo local government by-election in Chilubi district of Northern Province, PF Candidate, Wilson Kunda polled 854 votes while his closest rival, Evans Ngosa of the UPND got 446 votes. John Mwela of the Movement of Change and Equity, party (M4CE) secured 189 votes in the three-man contest.
“I want to say this is a sweet victory to the party. The people of Zambia, the people in Western Province, the people in Northern Province voted for the PF because of the developmental agenda that is being spearheaded by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the people of Zambia have spoken loudly and development can only be brought by the PF government which was given the mandate to run this country up to next year,” Mwila said.
“I can assure you that we’ll have more by-elections coming, like 10 more wards, and we expect to win all of them. I want to appeal to the leadership in Western Province that the UPND in the state in which it is as at now in Western Province, because there are too many wrangles, too many infighting and as a ruling party, we will take advantage and ensure that we take over the whole Western Province, come next year, Western Province will be our stronghold.”
And Mwila instructed Eastern Province PF chairperson Andrew Lubusha to discipline any party member causing wrangles in that area.
A video had circulated where PF youths in Eastern Province were calling on President Lungu to remove Lubusha as province chairperson saying it was in the best interests of the party.
“There are reports of wrangles in Eastern Province. I want to say that the PF will maintain discipline, it is a disciplined party and we will maintain discipline. We will ensure that whoever created those wrangles will be brought to book. The provincial chairman is instructed to ensure that whoever is involved, disciplinary action should be taken quickly as possible so that the Province can come to normal. We want order, that is our stronghold and we don’t want anyone to bring confusion in the province,” said Mwila.
Meanwhile, Western Province Minister Richard Kapita boasted that the victories were proof that Western Province had turned into a PF stronghold.
“Well, this is not the only win, you know we have about seven seats since I have been there. People have been telling us they are tired of the UPND and they are going to show us by doing exactly what they did last night (Tuesday). I go to these places so I know what I am talking about. I am encouraging you to go to North Western Province as well because these are the provinces that UPND used to claim that they were their strongholds. The situation has changed totally! So it’s like that everywhere else North Western Province, Western Province people are simply saying we are tired of UPND it will not take us anywhere, it has no agenda, we would rather follow PF and the developmental agenda is exciting everybody,” said Kapita.
“I can assure you that in 2021 election, I would be surprised if UPND will have five seats in either Western or North-Western Province, mark my words. Complaints about rigging, they have done that for a long time, composing songs that you can’t be in a party that is forever crying foul when they lose. The arithmetic is simple unless UPND can get seats in Luapula, Northern Province, Copperbelt, Central, they will never win, they will never go to State House that is the fact. You cannot claim that the election has been stolen if you have 90 per cent of votes from one province and unless he extends his tentacles to other provinces, it will not be possible for UPND to win 2021.”
But Mongu Central UPND member of parliament Dr Mwilola Imakando said the electoral atmosphere during the Mongu ward by elections was unfair as the PF bribed electorates with mealie meal and other foodstuffs.
“First of all, let me say that the ground was not fair in that government resources were being used. They were using vehicles belonging to DCs to ferry people, in particular, the vehicle for DC Nalolo, we saw it. They were going in with projects for food for work, they were making people to clear grounds and then pay them. In the process of paying them, they were asking for their voter’s cards and registration cards. In that sense, the ground was not fair,” Dr Imakando lamented.
“We saw in Kalugwana, they were distributing relief food. You cannot distribute relief food during elections. So as far as we are concerned, the ground was not fair. In addition, the people that received mealie meal were being followed in their homes and were being identified and being told that you received mealie meal from us you have to vote for us. The final one is where they were voting for people. All those who received mealie meal were being told that someone has to vote for you, that is the only way we can guarantee that you will vote for us because of mealie meal. So the election has been won because of mealie meal, it is not the will of the people, it’s a mealie meal issue. Finally, people were being given K20. So as far as we are concerned, we put in a fair fight but unfortunately, our friends abused the electoral rules.”
He said it was disappointing that the PF were using hunger as a campaign tool.
“The minister knew very well that there was hunger in Western Province but he refused to support our efforts to declare a hunger situation so that we can get help. So because of this hunger, they created a strategy to go and distribute mealie-meal and go and register people and record them and tamper with their votes. As far as I am concerned, it is not their bedroom, it is a place they have taken advantage of because of hunger. Otherwise why are they taking mealie? Why are they using mealie meal as a weapon? In fact, this time, they have even started distributing village chickens,” lamented Dr Imakando.