UPND chairperson for mobilisation Sylvia Masebo says the official position of the opposition Alliance is that her party will only field a candidate in Bahati while the NDC is supposed to field a candidate in Roan constituency ahead of the April 11th parliamentary by-election.
But Masebo, who is former tourism, and local government minister, says she is aware that the ruling party is making all efforts to disqualify the Alliance candidates from the race.
She told News Diggers! in an interview, Wednesday, that UPND was going to throw it’s weight behind an NDC candidate in Roan.
“That is the correct position. Even when you follow the statement from Gary [Nkombo, UPND chairperson for elections], we had agreed that UPND would field a candidate in Bahati and NDC together with other Alliance Partners would support; similarly, we had agreed that NDC would field a candidate in Roan while UPND and Alliance partners would support. We were hopping that it was going to be Kambwili himself who was going to be the candidate, but even after Kambwili failed because the court process was stretched beyond the nomination period, we still agreed that NDC should field and we should not field,” she explained.
“But I am also aware that there are a lot of manoeuvres by the PF on the ground, both in Bahati and and Roan to try and influence otherwise through the structures. So there was an idea that a UPND candidate should be on standby, just in case the PF pulls a fast one, we should quickly throw in another Alliance candidate on the UPND ticket, so that we don’t let the PF go through unopposed. We are aware that the PF is making plans to make sure that the NDC candidate doesn’t go on the ballot and they also want to ensure that the UPND candidate doesn’t also appear. But otherwise, UPND is 100 per cent behind NDC and it’s candidate in Roan. In fact, Roan is for Kambwili at the end of the day. He is basically the one people still want as their MP, so with the help of UPND, we are very hopeful that he will deliver victory for the adopted candidate.”
Asked what would happen if the NDC candidate was blocked, Masebo said UPND was aware of such a possibility and the party was in consultation with NDC and other Alliance partners to ensure that backup plans are in place.
“That’s the problem that I am grappling with. The issue is that ECZ will only announce at the end around 15:00 hours that ‘these are the successful candidates who will go on the ballot’, at that stage it becomes too late to field any other candidate in an event that the other Alliance candidate from NDC is not on the list. So that is the situation that we are dealing with. But at the same time, we are very cautious in the way we are handling this situation, bearing in mind that our NDC partners have not put any standby candidate in Bahati. We don’t want to see both NDC and UPND candidates going on the ballot, that will not be good for the Alliance.”
However a source in Luanshya told News Diggers! that the predicament that NDC and UPND were in was causing tension in Roan.
“There is serious tension here because some individuals in the UPND structures really want to contest and these are telling the party leadership that NDC will not be allowed to contest because its candidate will be blocked.
The challenge is that Mwenya Musenge who is the Secretary General [for NDC] still has some unresolved issues with Kambwili. And this is the man who is supposed to sign and issue the adoption certificate. So there is fear that Musenge can actually sell out on the last minute again and claim that he did not sign on the adoption certificate or something like that which can mess up the NDC adoption,” explained the source.
And the sources said Kambwili’s son Mwamba was not likely to be adopted despite being a preferred candidate because he did not have a voter’s card.
“The preferred candidate was the son to CK, Mwamba. But Mwamba has got no voter’s card, so he has fallen off. Article 70 of the revised constitution is clear over the matter. So that’s the snag which Mwamba hit. So right now there are four other candidates available for Mr Akafumba to pick from. So Mwamba is no longer in the race that’s why you have seen it’s now quiet.”
Meanwhile, NDC National Youth chairman Charles Kabwita has accused the Examination Council of Zambia of trying to block its 14 potential candidates who were on the list of adoption for Roan constituency from verifying their Grade 12 certificates.
In an interview, Kabwita said the 14 NDC candidates were given bank deposit slips to go and deposit the monies but found the centre closed when they returned, before they were later advised to go back on Friday.
“We took 14 candidates to have their certificates verified but upon arrival, I don’t know how they noticed that we were coming from an opposition political party. I led the team of candidates and candidates complied with the procedures that are laid down by the Examination Council of Zambia. We were given deposit slips to go and deposit the K100 fee for those who are required to do so and we did that, But upon returning to the office, we found a poster stating that the centre has been closed until Friday 12:00 hours,” Kabwita said.
He vowed that no tricks from the Elections House was going to stop his party from contesting the Roan by-election.
“For us in the NDC we take it that this is political as we know that the PF are extremely afraid of the NDC presence in Roan hence the decision to instruct the ECZ to block us, but this will not deter the NDC from contesting Roan. We are a step ahead of the PF because we have people in the PF who are giving us information. So everything that they are planning, we are being told, we know how to counter the last kicks of a dying horse. So whatever the PF are thinking of doing in order to block the NDC from participating in the by-election will not suffice because we remain steadfast as a political party,” he said.
“So I just want to tell our colleagues in the PF that this will not deter the NDC from contesting the by-election in Roan. Yes they have barred our 14 candidates not to have their certificates to be verified but we have a reservoir of membership in our party. And come adoptions tomorrow, NDC will field a candidate. Even I Charles Kabwita I am a potential candidate, I will stand [and] if it comes to the worst, I will stand in Roan constituency.”