PF NDOLA District chairperson Benjamin Chitondo says the ruling party has halted the interviewing process for aspiring candidates in Bwana Mkubwa constituency after alleged corrupt practices being perpetrated by some officials.

On Tuesday, confusion rocked the adoption process when incumbent Bwana Mkubwa PF member of parliament, who is also Health Minister, Dr Jonas Chanda lost the vote in the race to be adopted to stand and re-contest as MP.

According to the score sheet, Dr Chanda lost to Warren Mwambazi, only managing to garner a paltry four votes against 16.

Dr Chanda then refuted these results and accused Mwambazi of bribing the entire constituency executive committee by paying the accommodation fees of all the 12 members of the constituency executive at Fatmols Lodge in Ndola.

Dr Chanda yesterday formally lodged a complaint to Chitondo over Mwambazi’s alleged behaviour.

“I am lodging a formal complaint to you concerning the behaviour of one of my competitors for Bwana Mkubwa constituency, Mr Warren Chisha Mwambazi, who booked some constituency officials at Fatmols Lodge in Ndola last night and this morning, and which you also personally verified. In the rules of natural justice, I request that the constituency officials who were booked at Fatmols Lodge and whose names are attached below should declare interest and not be allowed to attend the interview for all candidates as they are already biased and compromised,” stated Dr Chanda.

“As PF provincial vice-chairman, as well as serving member of parliament for Bwana Mkubwa constituency and Minister of Health, I’m aware that such corrupt behaviour is contrary to regulations for the party’s adoption process. I submit.”

And in an interview, Chitondo confirmed receiving Dr Chanda’s complaint letter and said the district executive was investigating the matter.

“In the early hours of yesterday (Tuesday), we received a verbal complaint from people in Bwana Mkubwa to say, ‘no, some constituency officials are camped at an official [place] by a named aspiring candidate.’ Of course, we instituted our investigations because as a party, we have rules and we need to stick to the rules of the game. Then, of course, we informed the people to say, ‘if there are people like that, the constituency chairman, please, ensure that we know every individual.’ Even the doctor (Dr Chanda) now complained officially. When you look at our guidelines, if it is true that someone had quarantined the interviewers, ordinarily, they have already shown allegiance to someone. How can they be partial in carrying out interviews? So, we told them that, ‘okay, we will investigate.’ But when he (Dr Chanda) sent a complaint letter, I was forced to stop the process, until we investigate and find out the truth because if it is true those who are involved should be sanctioned,” said Chitondo.

“Currently, the interviews are on hold and we are doing investigations to ascertain the credibility of the complaint. If we prove that for sure that people were quarantined, we will take punitive measures. Because, ordinarily even me, [if] I align myself to a certain candidate, I can’t be part of the panel to interview the people because I should declare interest, that this is a colleague or friend of mine, because my relationship can influence the outcome of the interviews. So, it is true we received a complaint and we are working on it. We can’t just rush and brush aside everything and in elections we don’t take long in making decisions. We told them to keep whatever they had done with those interviews, which is being taken care of well at the secretariat, at the constituency. Should we discover anything, we will sanction. Otherwise, whatever they did, if we prove that the people who were involved in the interviews [have] a case to answer, we will seek permission to nullify. If anything, we can start fresh interviews. There are so many remedies, if all candidates are bribing interviewers, we can seek permission that the constituency should not get involved in interviewing. We can look at somewhere else, interviews can start at a district-level going upwards.”