The opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) in Livingstone says the loss it has suffered in the Livingstone parliamentary by-election is a minor setback .
The opposition party says the setback will not stop it from fighting alleged undemocratic tendencies by the ruling Patriotic Front government.
And the UNPD members in Livingstone say they will support the move by the party to petition the Livingstone by-election results which saw the PF candidate emerge victorious.
In an interview with ZANIS in Livingstone today, UPND Livingstone spokesperson Neto Halwabala said the loss was just a minor setback which he attributed to violence allegedly perpetrated by the ruling PF whose candidate Lawrence Evans scooped the seat with 10,173
votes against his closest rival Regina Musokotwane of the UPND who got 7,805 votes.
Mr Halwabala said the fact that the run up to the elections was characterized by political violence forced many voters to stay away contributing to high voter apathy witnessed in the polls.
He also explained that the arrests of the president Hakainde Hichilema and other senior UPND officials and attempts to frame the party over the deaths of two PF cadres also contributed to the loss of the seat.
Mr Halwabala further said heavy police presence in the city which was seen as intimidation by the electorates forced many to stay away from voting.
“Losing this seat is just a minor setback which will not stop us from fighting injustices and other undemocratic tendencies by this government,” said Mr. Halwabala.
“Our voters were also forced to stay way due to fear of been intimated by heavy police presence and the arrests of Mr. Hichilema and other party officials a few weeks ago also instilled fear among most of our sympathisers,” said Mr. Halwabala.
Mr. Halwabala further said much as the UPND wanted to be in power, its main concern now was to ensure that the PF government uplift good democratic tenets and deliver promises it made to the people of Zambia.
He said UPND was worried at a number of issues such as the numerous by-elections the PF was creating at a great cost to the country and the alleged breakdown of law and order.
“Much as we want to form government, our main worry at the moment is numerous wanton creation of by-elections at a high cost to government, and the break-down of law which is now characterized by police brutality,” Mr. Halwabala said.
Meanwhile, UNPD members in Livingstone say they will support the move by the party to petition the constituency by-election results which saw the PF candidate emerge victorious.
Mr. Halwabala said it was clear that the polls were not free and fair because the elections were marred by political violence.
And Mr. Halwabala said UPND has performed better without being in a pact with the Movement for Multi-party democracy (MMD) during the March 14 polls.
The UPND spokesperson thanked the people of Livingstone who he said even after the violence and intimidation managed to vote for the party.
The PF won the elections after its candidate Lawrence Evans polled 10,173, followed by UPND’S Regina Musokotwane with 7,805, MMD’s Fred Siasutwe got 1,579, and UNIP’s Green Mwanagombe trailed last with a paltry 67 votes.