Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mere politicking won't sway Zambians - Sata
By Moses Kuwema, Laura Karlin and Isaac Zulu
Sat 22 June 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says mere politicking and agitation will not sway the Zambian people from their aspirations to support, respect and protect a government that has their interests at heart.

And PF candidate in the Feira by-election Patrick Ngoma says his victory has shown that the people of Luangwa have confidence in him.

Ngoma polled 3,579 votes against his closest rival UPND's Eularia Zulu who got 967 votes, while MMD's Elias Phiri got 617. UNIP's Charles Kanyama got 344, with NAREP's Samuel Sikaonga getting a paltry 63.

Celebrating the PF's victory in the Feira parliamentary by-election and nine local government by-elections out of eleven countrywide, President Sata said the victory was a reminder to the opposition that mere politicking and agitation would not change the people's support to the PF.

He said the government remained committed to engaging progressive forces within the opposition in its pursuit to execute pro-poor measures that would culminate into rapid economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction.

President Sata said the PF government acknowledged with humility the resounding acceptance it had received from the people of Feira following its victory in the just ended parliamentary by-election.

He also thanked the Zambian people for their continued show of confidence in his government following the nationwide local government by-elections in which the ruling Patriotic Front has scooped nine out of the 11 ward by-elections.

President Sata said the trouncing of the opposition in Feira reinforces the people's belief and optimism in the government's policies and programmes in line with the PF manifesto.

"We would like to assure the people of Feira and Zambia in general that our administration will now intensify its sustained efforts to take development countrywide and ensure that all growth projects are implemented with immediacy," said President Sata in a statement issued by his press aide, George Chellah.

"Indeed, the PF has continued gaining incredible ground in Southern, Eastern and Central provinces. The latest wins in areas like Kazungula and Vubwi, which were previously dominated by the opposition underscores our party's growing popularity across the country."

And speaking to journalists after he was declared the winner of the polls by returning officer Willard Siampondo, Ngoma said he concentrated on matters of development during his campaigns.

"I want to thank the Almighty God for this victory, because He has always been there for me. I want to also thank my campaign manager and his team, honourable Edgar Lungu. This victory is a sign that the people in Luangwa have confidence in me. Wherever I went, I spoke about what the PF government is doing and what it is going to do in future for the people in Feira constituency and Luangwa district. I was not worried about certain comments my colleagues made during their campaigns, I concentrated on matters concerning development for our constituency," he said.

Ngoma said his victory was important because it marked the beginning of everything in terms of development for the people of Feira.

Later when he addressed party members that gathered to witness the declaration of his victory by the returning officer, Ngoma said the campaigns in the by-election were meant to thank President Sata for the various developmental projects he had taken to Luangwa.

"It is up to you and me to make sure that this development that is coming is completed. Secondly, all these job opportunities that are coming to Luangwa in form of road construction and the opening up of the mine have to benefit you, the local people, and not outsiders," said Ngoma amid cheers from his supporters.

And UPND's Zulu described the elections as peaceful.

She, however, said she was very unhappy with the "underhand methods" that the PF used to win the seat.

"I saw a lot of people going door to door giving out mealie meal, which is not good in a democratic dispensation. I feel saddened that the people of Luangwa have been deprived of good leadership from me," she said.

Zulu said she was not disappointed with the election result as this was the first election she was taking part in, adding that she gave Ngoma a good run.

"The difference is not too much for me as a first attempt because I stood against a man who has been member of parliament for 17 years. This is not the end of my political career, if anything it is the beginning," said Zulu.

And Phiri said he was not convinced that he had lost the election.
Phiri alleged that most of the MMD members in the area did not vote because of the threats they received from PF thugs whom he said were stationed in almost all the polling stations.

"I am not convinced that I have lost. The PF has rigged this election. The battle for this by-election was between UPND and MMD," he claimed.
Asked if he would petition the election results, Phiri responded: "Even if I petition now the Judiciary is under threat from the PF so nothing is going to happen."

Meanwhile, UNIP's Kanyama said there was a lot of voter apathy and vote buying.

He said people were easily corrupted and changed their minds on the day of voting.

"For instance at Luangwa high school, we were expecting to get a lot of votes from there but what the PF did was to buy beers for people and this influenced their thinking," he said.

Kanyama, however, said he would start planning for 2016.
NAREP's Sikaonga declined to give a comment claiming he was in a meeting.

Feira Constituency has a total number of 11,264 registered voters from all the 31 polling stations but only 5,615 voters turned up to cast their votes.

In the local government by-elections held in Feira's Kabowo ward, PF candidate Ana Kuyana polled 109 votes against her closest rival UPND's Ignatius Phiri who got 64 votes, while NAREP's Mackenzie Dominic got four, with UNIP's Regis Phiri getting one vote.

In Phwazi ward, PF's Felix Kazangalale polled 329 votes and was followed by UPND's Michael Phiri with 146 votes. UNIP's Ntaiko Phiri got five votes while NAREP's Paul Tembo got four votes.

Meanwhile, the Patriotic Front has scooped the Masaninga and Chibale local government by-elections in Muchinga Constituency.

Returning officer Joseph Zgambo declared PF's Dickson Mushota Musonda winner of Thursday's Masaninga ward at 00:22 hours on June 21, 2013.
Musonda polled 460 votes while his MMD counterpart Michael Maambo got 346 votes. UPND's Melody Kalunga polled 17 votes while Haggai Kabanshi who stood on NAREP ticket managed to poll 25 votes.

In Chibale ward, Zgambo declared PF's Cassius Kalale winner of the said local government election after he garnered 392 votes against his closest rival, MMD's Stephen Changwe who got 246 votes while NAREP's Kennedy Singoyi only got one vote in Chibale.

But Muchinga MMD member of parliament Howard Kunda has accused the PF of perpetuating violence and intimidation in the run-up to the local government by-elections.

"We have conceded defeat but I can tell you that those by-elections were characterised by violence and intimidation," said Kunda. "I am told that Chanda Mutale was moving with weapons. There was mass intimidation in the run-up to those local government elections. As a result, people could not go to vote. We have lost; it's okay. But people need to know that there was intimidation."

But Mutale has described his party's victory as "a well deserved."

"That is a well deserved win. We managed to win because we campaigned throughout and we were united," he said.

"I would also want to congratulate everyone that was in my campaign team. We have won in the stronghold of the MMD, in Howard Kunda's constituency. When we won Kanona ward, I told them that 'this is the beginning of the end of MMD.' Now we have scooped these two seats. This simply means that we are finishing the MMD in Serenje and Central Province in general."

Mutale refuted Kunda's assertions that the two local government by-elections were characterised by violence and intimidation.

"Howard should not raise those lame excuses. Next time he should go flat out to campaign instead of their MMD usual style of dishing out money to the electorate a few hours before elections," said Mutale.

"We do not have a case at the police and there is not report of violence at the district conflict management committee. That simply shows that the by-elections in Masaninga and Chibale wards were violence-free."

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