United Progressive Party President Saviour Chishimba has defended his decision to contest the Lusaka mayoral election.
Dr Chishimba contested the last presidential election and finished sixth with 9,221 total votes representing 0.25 percent.
On Tuesday, he filed in his nomination papers for the vacant position of Lusaka Mayor.
But Dr Chishimba says there is nothing wrong with going for a much lower position in politics saying service is service, whatever the level, and must not be limited to the Presidency.
“2021 is three years from now. We want to implement what we have been proposing in terms of transforming councils into “counties” or “city states. Councils are statutory corporations that must generate revenues for various projects for service provision. Local authorities must also be the major boosters for small businesses, which is essential in job creation,” Dr Chishimba said in an interview.
He added, “I was in Israel for three months and returned last week. Councils run major investment projects. They also have major industries in industrial parks. Mayors are more powerful than ministers.”
Dr Chishimba said a mayor with a vision and direction can transform a city and results can be seen in a year adding that Lusaka is the heart of Zambia.
He said there is nothing that will stop his party from organising for 2021 elections while transforming Lusaka.
“We had initially adopted our SG and all his papers were cleared, but this position changed when senior members of the council including the SG himself Cde Mainda Simataa, reviewed and decided that Lusaka needed to be put on fast track path of transformation and as such it needed my direct involvement in view of the direct positive relations that I have built with agencies locally and internationally.”
Dr Chishimba maintained he will still run for the Presidency in 2021.
“There are many leaders around the world who have served their countries as Prime Ministers before, but they have also taken up ambassadorial positions after leaving office. Abraham Lincoln served as senator. He made attempts to run as President several times but when it never worked he continued as senator. When his time came, he won the presidency,” he said.
Dr Chishimba said, “It beats my mind how we want to belittle the mayoral position in the Capital City of our country. Nigeria has a full Cabinet Minister in charge of Abuja. The position is called Minister of the Capital (Abuja). The Capital City is not like any other.”
He observed that some of the political party presidents have never even entered parliament, but that all they want is to rise directly to the presidency.
“Why should I wait until 2021 if I believe that given an opportunity to run Lusaka, there are massive development projects that can be executed without waiting for central government funding. I literally mean these words – there are multiple alternatives of resource mobilisation. I will be taking about them soon.