PF Lusaka Mayoral candidate Miles Sampa kept with the party tradition when he shunned a public debate on Tuesday evening ahead of this week’s Mayoral debate.
Organized by a consortium of Civil Society organizations, the debate focused on key challenges that face Lusaka city such as Water and Sanitation, running of Bus Stations and Markets and Recreation, City Planning and Security in Lusaka.
All the other candidates turned up and actively participated in the debate held at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre and articulated issues.
The debate was broadcast live on privately owned Diamond TV and was moderated by Costa Mwansa.
Mr Sampa failed to turn up and there was no explanation from his campaign team on why he could not feature on the debate.
Through out its party history, the Patriotic Front has never featured in any pre election public debate from the days of its founding leader late Michael Sata.
Some of the candidates that hugely impressed during the debate were the lesser known RPP candidate Wesley Chikuse, veteran UNIP loyalist Rev. Alfred Banda and Mundia Mukubesa who is better known as Petersen.
25 year old Madalitso Musukwa of the United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia who is the youngest in the race observed that Lusaka is divided into two social classes, those with and those without.
“My manifesto is people driven. It is the right time to inject fresh energy into a new leadership. I’m a 25 year old candidate who doesn’t have kids to send to Russia once elected. I’m urging the youth to vote for young leadership,” Mr Musukwa said.
Mr Musukwa said he will create equal opportunities for all residents in Lusaka by prioritizing job creation across the city.
He said there is also need to increase safety within Lusaka and improve the quality of education through better school Infrastructure.
‘It’s time a young man injects a new type of leadership in Lusaka. I want my elders to rest,” he said.
Saviour Chishimba of the UPP said he will instill discipline and insist on the rule of law once elected Mayor.
“I’m coming with the rule of law. Local govt has to simply implement what central govt agrees on. All revenues meant to be collected by council should be collected only by council itself,” Mr Chishimba said.
Mr Chishimba said the Central Government needs to conform to the Local Governance Act and noted the need to maximize on revenue collection.
He said once elected, he will focus on ending the culture of looting of Looting of public property by taking back all Markets and Bus Stops.
Reverend Alfred Banda of UNIP said there is need to. decongest Lusaka’s roads by building overpass roads and flyovers.,
Reverend Banda said the Lusaka City Council needs innovative revenue generating mechanisms than the existing ones.
He also stated the need to curb rising crime levels in Lusaka.
“Lusaka can be a prototype city. We can make it clean and green again just like during the UNIP days,” he said.
Reverend Banda said there is need for a better drainage system in Lusaka and better street lighting across the city.
NAREP’s Bwalya Nondo said he will prioritize the economic empowerment of women and the youth in Lusaka.
Mr Nondo said there is need to depoliticize the Lusaka City Council which will help enhance revenue collection.
“I need to exorcise the demon that has taken over Lusaka City Council. Time has come for criminals to go where they belong, prison,” Mr Nondo said.
“We want youth and women citizens empowered.”
Mundia Mukubesa of PAC says parties need to understand difference between a party and government.
“We’re giving too much power to one political entity that is whose decisions are not debated. Need for balanced government to fix Lusaka’s problems,” Mr Mukubesa said.
He said once elected Mayor, he will work hard to depoliticize the local council and bring about efficient revenue measures.
Pastor Kangwa Chileshe of UPND says his party manifesto is a development agenda through economic empowerment and efficient service delivery.
He pledged to end a culture of reactive governance to more proactive one once elected Mayor.
Mr Chileshe said there is also need to free the running of Bus Stations and Markets from political elements and introduce efficient leadership at the city council.
Saboi Imboela, the only female candidate in the race observed that voting for a female Mayor will help accelerate development in the city.
Ms Imboela said there is need to improve the state of housing and general infrastructure in Lusaka.
She said as a Mother, she will open Drop in Center for Youths and Children once elected Mayor and improve water and sanitation.
On street vending, Ms. Imboela said it is sad that the PF Government has criticized street vending which she said is a source of livelihood for many poor households in Lusaka.
She said once elected, she will work hard to create new trading spaces to accommodate those wishing to trade.
RPP Wesley Chikuse says he will focus on upgrading shanty compounds and creating employment opportunities for the residents of Lusaka.
He said he will reallocate some residents to pave way for the upgrading of shanty compounds.