LUSAKA Central PF member of parliament Margaret Mwanakatwe says she is very confident that the ruling Patriotic Front will scoop the Lusaka Central seat in next year’s general election.

But Lusaka lawyer and UPND Lusaka Central aspiring candidate Mulambo Haimbe says there is nothing that the PF have done in Lusaka to warrant their re-election.

In an interview, Mwanakatwe expressed confidence in the PF’s chances of being re-elected in Lusaka Central, adding that the constituency was on course to register 110,000 voters, surpassing the 2016 total of 81,000.

“We have done well, we have beaten our numbers for 2016. The last count we had was 107,000 [voters] compared to 81,000 in 2016. So, as we do this last push, I think we will get to about 110,000. There were usual challenges of slowness of machines, but it sort of got better towards the end. So, it will be interesting to note what these four days are like. I notice, as I go round to look at the 24-hour shift, and I have four in my constituencies, that quite a lot of people go at night. I am very confident about Lusaka Province as a whole, particularly Lusaka Central. I think we shall scoop the seat as PF,” said Mwanakatwe.

But in a separate interview, Haimbe said the ruling party had done nothing exceptional to merit re-election.

“Everybody is entitled to their own opinion regardless of how unrealistic that opinion is. If the PF and the sitting member of parliament for Lusaka Central believe that they will scoop the 2021 election, at the end of the day, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating because the people of Lusaka Central are the only ones who can decide who they want to represent them and not the PF and Honourable Mwanakatwe. It is not for her to say! The people of Lusaka have expressed their dissatisfaction with the manner in which they have been represented from the time the PF entered power. There are several things that can be pointed out: people in Bauleni [township] have been complaining from time immemorial about the lack of water, improper sanitation facilities and load shedding, which are still issues. Youths are complaining of not being empowered. There are also complaints [whereby], rather than being in touch with the people, the Honourable seems to have a specific number of individuals that she associates with. So, in those circumstances, I do not believe that the PF has done enough to scoop the Lusaka Central seat come 2021,” argued Haimbe.

“If you walk in the Lusaka Central Business District (CBD), you will see that there is a terrible situation in terms of solid waste management. The vendors have complained about the manner in which they are treated by the PF and that they are being levied in illegal and unconstitutional lawful taxes by the PF cadres. Such situations definitely do not warrant the PF government being re-elected. And whoever they decide to field in as Lusaka Central stands a very little chance. Everybody knows that the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) is not operating in the manner that it should, it is poorly managed! Go to Cancer Diseases Hospital, people are being asked to buy the inputs in order for the diagnosis to be made, and if they can’t buy the inputs, they are sent away! Nobody should boast that they are putting infrastructure, that is what government is there for. That is a myopic way of looking at things. If you are given a job and you do your job, should you be praised for it? [When you’re] using public resources, there is nothing to ride home about. That is what is expected of them and that should not be a basis that they have done anything exceptional.”