Monday, February 10, 2014
UPND hopeful of scooping Malambo seat
By Peter Sukwa in Chipata
Fri 29 Nov. 2013, 14:00 CAT
OPPOSITION UPND in Mambwe district says it is hopeful of scooping the Malambo parliamentary seat despite losing the Nsefu ward to PF last week. And PF Malambo Constituency candidate, Jacob Shuma, says he is not a political novice and should not be demeaned.
In an interview on Wednesday, UPND Mambwe district coordinator, Mike Phiri, said the party had realised the mistakes that led to its defeat in the recent Nsefu ward by-election.
He said UPND's loss in the Nsefu ward by-election was not an indicator of another defeat in the forthcoming parliamentary by -election.
When asked what would happen if Maxwell Mwale, the UPND candidate, is stopped from contesting the seat by the Supreme Court, Phiri said the party would pick a replacement.
"Mwale is the sole candidate for UPND and if anything happens, the party is not short of capable leaders. At the moment, we cannot disclose what measure we have put in place, but to tell you the truth, UPND is on the ground and UPND is winning Malambo seat," he said.
Phiri further said that the violence which took place in Nsefu ward by-election was not on the party's postmortem agenda and was not the cause of the loss.
He explained that MMD was no longer on the ground.
Phiri said provincial MMD chairperson Alexander Miti was in the district to assess his party's popularity and had seen for himself that the former ruling party did not stand a chance of winning the seat.
But sources in Mambwe said that Mwale was for the idea that Phiri should contest the seat if the Supreme Court barred him.
And Shuma said he came second to Mwale in 2011 elections when he stood as an independent candidate.
He said standing on the ruling PF's ticket would give him an advantage.
Shuma further said it was not true that UPND had entrenched itself in Malambo, but that Mwale had media influence.
"I am not new in politics, Maxwell had his party…he should not think he commands the valley. I am popular and confident of winning the election," he said.
Shuma, however, called on residents of Mambwe district to remain united and support government if the area was to develop.