RESIDENTS of Kabwata are today expected to elect a new member of parliament, a few months after the death of UPND’s Levy Mkandawire on November 18, last year.

Several candidates participating in the by-election are confident that they will scoop the vacant seat.

UPND candidate Andrew Tayengwa said his party would carry the day because of its achievements in the past five months.

“This election is a well known fact, UPND is carrying the day and we are not only winning but we are winning big. Definitely by the close of the polling day, people would have known that UPND has scooped because Tayengwa as a candidate is very strong, UPND as a party is still very strong. Look at the free education that we have provided, look at the retirees, we have managed to dismantle the debt of the retirees which was there for almost 10 to 15 years. We have released equalization funds on time, all these councils within the country are able to pay their workers’ salaries on time because no cadres are collecting money in the markets. So meaning the money is actually going to the councils,” said Tayengwa.

“If you look at the other things that we have scored within the past five months, the issue of farmers receiving their money on time. Beside that, Tayengwa as a candidate, I have already done so many things in the constituency, that is the reason why my name is already daunted. So let’s wait and see the actual day because I believe nobody would want to go back to the issues of tear gassing and throwing of stones. People have made up their minds, they are moving forward and nothing will change and we are going forward and we are scooping this seat.”

And PF candidate Clement Tembo said he was not intimidated by the multitude of people that were following President Hakainde Hichilema around during his campaign tours.

“The President had more police officers than people cheering him on. He had more police officers, we had seen some videos where police officers were even dancing, we were surprised. So if he thinks that his police officers and bodyguards are the ones who are going to give him the vote, then he is headed for a surprise. The people of Kabwata Constituency have decided. So it is not the presence of the police officers. The people of Kabwata Constituency want answers. For example, he should have just been in office working but now they are interchanging, if it is not HH, it is Nalumango, the Vice President busy campaigning. But we are not intimidated, in fact they are making the campaigns even better,” said Tembo.

“We don’t want him to come and give an excuse, he is welcome so that he can also come and concede on the loss, the way President Lungu gave him the mantle. Let also his candidate concede defeat. We have the confidence, before the Patriotic Front, we have Clement Tembo, a product of Kabwata Constituency. So the confidence is high, the confidence is with the people. I have been in the Constituency, I have had my community activities from here. The confidence is booming and we are ready for the elections. Ours is just to tighten our security because we are aware that they are fond of stealing, but this time around, we are very ready for them. They want to bring people to intimidate polling agents and we are geared for them.”

Meanwhile, Socialist Party candidate Tripher Ng’andu said it was unfortunate that the police had failed to act on fractions of violence perpetrated by the UPND.

“The UPND started beating up our cadres because they know that we are winning this one, so it is to scare our people. Not even that, they have even stolen the billboards in Burma Road, about 100 billboards have been stolen from Burma Road just to take away our visibility. We have reported, unfortunately, there is nothing the police are doing. We have police reports, we went to get police reports, literally, nothing has been done. Even medical reports are there but there is nothing that the police machinery is doing. The opposition has just been put Ku wire. We were the ones who were supposed to be in Lilayi, it was not the police that chased us, it was the UPND cadres that came to chase us from there and even beat up our boys, I was there. We are winning, that is the reason why they have targeted us, they know these are the people who are likely to win. People have already made a decision,” he said.

Ng’andu said PF was no longer a threat in any election.

“PF is no longer a threat, people know what they did. People in Kabwata are liberal, people in Kabwata are civilized, so they know that bringing back PF will mean bringing cadres on the streets, in the markets, in the bus stations, the brutality. So they wouldn’t want to go through that. They are saying PF is rebranding but you can’t rebrand with the same people. So it is the same thing, people know what they want in Kabwata. They want something different, someone who will offer leadership. For me, even in my private life, from what I earn with my own money, I was able to build structures that has housed 32 children, orphans. We have been doing projects in the markets for a long time. So, if I can do that with my own money, how about now,” said Ng’andu.