FORMER Minister of Finance Katele Kalumba says the Patriotic Front (PF)’s landslide victory in the Bangweulu parliamentary by-elections is an indication that Luapula Province is solidly behind the leadership of President Lungu.
Dr Kalumba said the province is united and continues to support the ruling party because of the various development projects being undertaken by President Lungu and his administration.
He said in an interview yesterday that he is optimistic Zambians will remain united and consistent in supporting Mr Lungu before and after the 2016 general elections.
“The leadership of President Lungu is delivering not by words but by works and it is for this reason that people in Luapula Province are behind the PF,” he said.
Dr Kalumba urged Zambians in all parts of the country to unite and support President Lungu to enable him to deliver development.
He thanked the people of Bangweulu for being peaceful before, during and after the by-election.
Dr Kalumba is optimistic the newly-elected Bangweulu MP, Anthony Kasandwe, will add value to the ruling party as he is credible.
Mr Kasandwe won with a landslide 9,516 votes, beating Robby Mwansa of the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) into second place with 1,882 votes.
United Party for National Development (UPND) candidate Blanco Muma was third with 1,122 votes, while independent candidate Prudence Chinama got 653.
John Kabila of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) managed 432 votes with National Restoration Party (NAREP) candidate Morgan Mwewa collecting 336.
Meanwhile, the PF has challenged the Rainbow Party to participate in the three forthcoming parliamentary by-elections instead of partying over victory in a ward election.
PF secretary general Davies Chama said the Rainbow Party and UPND’s wins in the Kapililonga and Bululu ward elections in Isoka and Kasama Central constituencies, respectively, were just some stroke of luck.
Mr Chama said the ruling party still enjoys popularity in the two constituencies and that its defeat could be as a result of failure to field strong candidates.
The PF secretary general said yesterday that the opposition’s victory is not a reflection of their growing popularity.
“I do not want to make excuses for our loss in the two wards as I am yet to get a post-mortem report from the relevant party organs but my immediate assumption is, we fielded candidates that were not strong enough.
“My advice to the UPND is, let them wait for the Kasama Central constituency by-election as that will be a different ball game and I will be in the campaign team,” he said.
Mr Chama also challenged the Rainbow Party to gauge its popularity by participating in the forthcoming parliamentary by-elections in Kasama Central, Lubansenshi and Solwezi West.
“The candidate that the Rainbow Party fielded in the Kapililonga ward election was in fact our immediate past councillor who was expelled. I am actually informed that he was claiming to be behind all the development in the ward, that he is the initiator.
“The entire Rainbow Party was in the ward campaigning. It is like killing a fly with an AK47 rifle. I challenge them to participate in the forthcoming by-elections so that they can truly test their popularity,” he said.