Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chaos reigns at Mufulira PF polls

By Misheck Wangwe
Mon 03 Feb. 2014, 14:01 CAT

EXCHANGE of bitter words among PF members, some ministers and members of parliament characterised the Mufulira district elections on Saturday.

And Copperbelt minister, Mwenya Musenge, angrily left Mufulira's Hindu Hall saying he could not be part of an election where some people insulted and accused him of trying to manipulate the electoral college.
Meanwhile, PF Kankoyo member of parliament, Levy Chabala, exchanged bitter words with Chishimba Kambwili and accused the sports minister of causing confusion in Mufulira.

The elections failed to take place in the morning as scheduled due to confrontations among party officials that were clearly divided, forming camps within themselves.

The party officials only managed to cast their votes around 20:00 hours.

It took several interventions by returning officer, Dr Ngosa Simbyakula, who is also home affairs minister; PF deputy secretary general, Bridget Atanga and other senior party officials from the secretariat to restore calm.

Police officers also had a tough time calming the two camps that almost beat each other up.

Confusion started in the morning after Musenge was tasked to call out the names of registered and eligible voters for the district election.
Immediately after Musenge finished calling out the names, some party officials argued that some names were missing, while others contended that many eligible voters had been deliberately suspended, a situation they said would give advantage to other contenders.

At this point, some party members stood and started accusing Musenge, Kambwili and other senior party members of making attempts to manipulate the electoral college so that their preferred candidates could win the election.

Chabala exchanged bitter words with Kambwili, the national youth chairman, after the former challenged Kabwili to explain his role in a district election.

"I told Kambwili that you are not part of the electoral college, you are a minister, but not part of the electoral team. I told him that he had brought confusion. He Kambwili told me that 'Mwaiche naufulungana' (young man you have gone mad) and I responded by telling him that if I am mad then you are also mad and that's how we differed. We know that some of these MPs want to support their friends. They don't want people to get positions on merit, in a free and fair election. There was no need for them to be here," Chabala explained later after the confrontation.

But Kambwili said he went to the Mufulira district election in his capacity as a national youth chairman.

"As members of parliament, we should not behave as ordinary cadres. Chabala came to me and told me that I was the one behind the confusion. He wanted to go behind our backs and put some people that were not on the register. So, I told the returning officer, Dr Simbyakula, that we can't listen to one person. That's how he started using derogatory remarks against me. This is the problem we have in our party. We have young people that want to misbehave with impunity towards others. They think they are untouchables," Kambwili explained.

And Musenge in an interview said, he had left the election venue as a way of distancing himself from the confusion, because he had integrity to preserve.

"I was simply given a responsibility to announce the names of voters and some people started insulting me. I thought this was not correct and that's how I left. I don't want to be perceived as someone behind that confusion because I am not such kind of a person. I have had problems before in the party, I have been punished before. I was suspended sometime back and I don't want problems," said Musenge.

Meanwhile, a new executive that saw Dominic Mwale win against previous chairman, John Katati, has been ushered into office for the PF in Mufulira district .

The election results that were announced after midnight on Saturday saw Dr Mwale ascend to the position of Mufulira district PF chairperson, after he polled 93 votes against Katati's 75.

Michael Chisanga, who got 93 votes against 77 for Moton Chali, scooped the position of district vice-chairperson.

Peter Shula scooped the position of treasurer after he polled 89 votes to beat Mulenga Kosa who got 84 votes.

In the youth and women's league, Beatrice Kapansa was elected women's league chairperson, while the position of district youth chairperson was not filled up after the contestants, Brian Mulilo and Jackson Kalowa, tallied with 85 votes each.

Before the polls, PF deputy secretary general, Bridget Atanga urged party members to reconcile, unite and work together.

She called for an end to squabbles among PF members saying, these were adversely affecting the growth and performance of the party.

"We must learn to co-exist because we are one family and to this effect, I want to announce that all suspensions are lifted because we want to start on a new note," said Atanga.

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