THE PF says results from the just-ended parliamentary and local government by-elections reflect major gains for the ruling party and a shrinkage of the opposition MMD and UPND.
But MMD president Nevers Mumba says the PF should stop behaving like “a smart mouse” and accept that the Zambian people have hit the ruling party through its loss in two parliamentary by-elections.
Commenting on the outcome of the parliamentary by-elections held in Muchinga, Chama North and Livingstone Central and several local government by-elections on Thursday, PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba said yesterday that his party was slowly becoming localised in its non-traditional areas.
Kabimba said all the three parliamentary seats that were under contest had been MMD seats.
“We have won Chama North,” he said. “All the local government seats were MMD, in Western Province, in North Western Province; Ikelenge, Kasempa and Mufumbwe and the three in Eastern Province; Chadiza, Chipangali and I can’t remember the third one. Also the one in Livingstone ward election, which we won…it means for us there has been a gain.”
Kabimba said it was evident from this major electoral gain that the PF was becoming localised as a political party, especially that it had won local government by-elections in Kalabo and Kaoma in Western Province.
“Again you know that is an area perceived as a non-traditional PF area. We have penetrated the two seats in Chadiza and again that is a non-traditional PF area,” he said. “We won a seat in Akapelwa Ward in Livingstone. Out of the three MMD parliamentary seats we have penetrated one seat. So that is a gain for us. That is Chama North.”
Kabimba said Livingstone which the PF lost to the UPND was part of the Southern Province Bantustan framework.
“That is their UPND description, not mine. So we have gone up one seat, MMD has gone down by two seats. We have grown, MMD is shrinking.
These results show growth for PF and they show shrinkage by MMD and shrinkage by UPND at local government level,” Kabimba said.
He said the PF had learnt lessons from its losses in Muchinga and Livingstone.
“There are always lessons that a self-criticising political party learns from each political event and PF is a self-criticising party.
“We criticise ourselves when there is a development like this. We don’t proceed on the basis of arrogance,” said Kabimba.
But MMD president Nevers Mumba said in an interview yesterday that the PF could not claim to have gained when they had lost two parliamentary seats and one won through corrupt means.
“I wouldn’t agree with that. That is not what they expected. I think they expected to win all the seats because they are now a ruling party,” he said. “They were under the illusion that they were more popular.”
Mumba said the electoral outcome was a blow to the PF and that Zambians were now thinking twice about the ruling party’s capacity to deliver.
“Sometimes it is better to accept that there is a problem rather than behaving like a smart mouse,” he said. “Let them not be smart mouses.”
Mumba said the PF should try and discern what the Zambians were saying because it was a very serious matter for a ruling party to lose two seats.
Asked about the MMD’s failure to make the number required for a political party to be accorded the status of leader of opposition in the House despite winning one out of the three parliamentary polls, Mumba said he hopes the Speaker would use his prerogative on the matter.
“It’s a percentage issue. They have to calculate,” said Mumba. “The Speaker has a prerogative of going ahead and giving us the official position. Remember in 1991, the Speaker granted UNIP the official opposition status when they had 25 seats but we have more than 25, we have 52.”
Fifty-three is the number of members of parliament a political party should have to be accorded the slot of leader of opposition in the House and recently, the MMD’s Felix Mutati stepped down as leader of opposition citing intra-party issues.
Latter addressing a press briefing at the MMD secretariat in Lusaka, Mumba urged Howard to go to Parliament and speak out like his father did saying the late Kunda feared nobody.
Speaker Dr Patrick Matibini is expected to issue a ruling on the matter soon.
And newly-elected Muchinga MMD member of parliament Howard Kunda urged the PF to continue petitioning last year’s parliamentary elections so that the MMD could ‘take back what belongs to it’.
“This election means a lot to the MMD and for PF I think now this is the time they are going down. We have started to eliminate them and we are urging them to nullify more seats so that we can go after them and get back what belongs to MMD,” he said.
Howard, son of the late former Republican vice-president George Kunda, said his election could never be a vote of sympathy because the people of Muchinga Constituency decided to send him to Parliament.
Howard said at a pressing briefing in Lusaka that he will continue with the legacy of his father.
Losing PF candidate Jeliaty Ntembwa said he felt pity for the people of Muchinga because they had retarded the development of the constituency by voting for the opposition.
Meanwhile, an MMD convoy that drove from Malcolm Moffat College through town to the MMD camp at Villa Mbanandi had two of their vehicles’ windscreens shattered by irate PF cadres that were by the road side at Mapontela Guest House.
By press time yesterday, the MMD had not reported the matter to the police but identified one of the suspects as PF Ibolelo ward councillor Chester Kasonde.
Howard polled 3,419 against his closest rival Ntembwa who polled 3,023 while National Restoration Party candidate Kenneth Ngosa only managed 168.
A total of 6,715 ballots were cast and about 105 of the ballots were rejected.
Muchinga Constituency has 15,996 registered voters.
In Livingstone, the UPND candidate Rev Howard Sikwela emerged victorious.
According to returning officer Elester Hazinji who announced the results after 02:00 hours on Friday, Rev Sikwela polled 11,979 votes in the by-election marred by apathy, while the PF’s Joseph Akafumba polled 8,318.
Out of the over 65,000 registered voters, only 20,858 cast their votes.
Stephen Zulu, an independent candidate, polled 119 votes while another independent candidate Joseph Mwanza polled 95 and Zondhwayo Soko managed a paltry 39 votes.
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema said the results were a clear message that no one could bully Zambians and get away with it.
In Chama North, PF candidate January Zimba emerged victorious after he defeated MMD’s Yotam Mtayachalo with 6,650 against the latter’s 2,560 votes.
Campaign manager Edgar Lungu said it was always important for the government to deliver on its promises.
“This victory only sends one message that you do what the people want or you deliver what you promise or you walk the talk. If you do what the people want, then they can give you a mandate to preside over their affairs,” said Lungu who also refuted allegations that the ruling party was engaging in electoral malpractices.
UNIP campaign manager Archangel Mbewe, who conceded defeat, said the party’s 80-year-old Herbert Zimba had tried.
The PF also scooped the Muchinga, Manthepa, Chisunga and Bazimu ward local government by-elections held in Chama North and Chama South.
The MMD scooped the Sisinje and Msandire local government by-election in Chipata while the PF scooped Taferansoni ward in Chadiza.