Sunday, April 20, 2008
By Lambwe Kachali
Sunday April 20, 2008 [04:00]
MMD chairperson for elections Mike Mulongoti has charged that the opposition has lost grip in Eastern Province, saying the MMD is ready to scoop the Milanzi parliamentary seat. But UNIP deputy general secretary Reverend Alfred Banda said the party would retain the seat without difficulties. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has set June 26, 2008 as the date for the Milanzi Constituency parliamentary by-elections.
The seat fell vacant following the death of Dr Chosani Njobvu last month.
Mulongoti, who is information and broadcasting minister and chief government spokesperson, said looking at the popularity and support the MMD was currently enjoying in Eastern Province, it was clear that it would carry the day.
He charged that although UNIP won the seat in 2006, its political muscle had declined completely.
Mulongoti said it would be difficult for the opposition to get the Milanzi seat because MMD was commanding a lot of support in the province.
“I am not underrating our competitors but as MMD, we are going to fight not for survival but to increase the number of parliamentary seats in the province. We are going with full conscience, aiming at taking the seat without fail. We are well organised and there is no doubt that the seat is already ours,” said Mulongoti.
But Rev Banda said UNIP would seriously take on MMD and other political parties.
He said UNIP would defend the seat and bragged that the late Dr Njobvu brought a lot of development in Milanzi.
“The development that Dr Njobvu brought in that constituency will speak and campaign for us. The people of Milanzi know that they cannot vote for MMD or any other party apart from UNIP.
Milanzi is our stronghold and I have no doubt that we will defend our seat,” said Rev Banda. “I just urge the people of Milanzi not to succumb to MMD’s tricks of using public money and resources during campaigns.”
Opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema last week said his party was ready to participate in the by-election.
Hichilema said easterners had now realised that MMD had failed them and that the only hope was in UPND.
ECZ public relations manager Cris Akufuna last week announced the date of the by-election for Milanzi and four wards.
“Aspiring candidate in the by-elections should lodge completed and attested statutory declaration and nomination papers subscribed before a magistrate, local court justice, head of primary school, head of secondary school, principal of a college, commissioner of oaths, election officer or returning officer on Thursday, 29 May, 2008 between 09:00 hours and 15:00 hours,” he stated.
He stated that the campaign period for the by-elections would commence on May 28 and end at 18:00 hours on June 25.