The opposition United Progressive People (UPP) has disclosed that it has not received any official communication from its candidate, Francis Libanda on his decision to withdraw from the Kabwata parliamentary by-election.
In a post on his Facebook page, UPP Leader Saviour Chishimba said that efforts to reach their candidate have failed and that some party officials last spotted him on Friday, 7 January 2022 at a shopping mall in Kabulonga where he was seen with the vehicle that the party gave him.
Dr. Chishimba said that the party expected the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to officially communicate with the party noting that there is a letter which is purportedly submitted by Mr. Libanda to the commission and that the expectation to hear from ECZ is predicated on the fact that the are 100% the sponsors of his candidature and their patriotic and national interests in the matter must be noted.
“The party spokesperson will issue a comprehensive statement when we receive official communication from the ECZ.
“Our nation is yearning for genuine Saviours who will put national interests before self. It remains our genuine desire to be given the chance to work with the people of Kabwata for the transformation of the constituency into a model city within a city, ” concluded the statement.
On Friday, Mr. Libanda announced his withdrawal from the Kabwata by-election saying the by-election allegedly lacks credibility and fairness citing one of the candidates with a questionable reputation after allegedly involving in money laundering while another candidate is allegedly a foreign national.
Meanwhile, stakeholders have continued to differ on the decision to proceed with the election by ECZ. According to senior Patriotic Front (PF) member, Chishimba Kambwili, the decision by the ECZ to proceed with the by-election in Kabwata in spite of the withdrawal of United Progressive Party candidate (UPP) Mr. Francis Libanda, was a trap and trick by the UPND that would disadvantage the opposition, adding that ECZ had no authority to disregard the constitution which called for the cancellation of elections if a candidate withdrew.
Mr. Kambwili explained that the constitution was very clear that the withdrawal of a candidate would automatically lead to cancellation of elections, “The constitution does not give any discretion to any office to proceed otherwise,” he said.
According to Mr. Kambwili, UPND has a plan in place to petition the seat once the PF won the seat as was expected, “Don’t fall in this trap, let us insist that the constitution if followed to the letter so that our victory will be questioned,” he said.
And Dr Musumali said they were disturbing allegations involving the UPND of having engineered the resignation of the candidate because the ruling party was having a hard time to sale their candidate.
He said the allegations were serious as they would spell doom in the Zambian democracy and called on investigative wings to get onto the matter as quickly as possible.
However, UPND Secretary General Batuke Imenda described the allegations against the party as a lie because they did not have such schemes having spent a lot of money in the campaigns.
Mr Imenda had since challenged the Socialist Party to provide evidence to back their allegations against the UPND, labeling them as a party known for propaganda and lies which has become their specialty.
And the ECZ is reportedly having candidates during nominations that after filing nominations had closed no withdrawals by candidates would be recognized by the commission.
The returning officer when addressing the candidates at Nakatindi hall on the day of nomination told them that if anyone wanted to withdraw from the election they were supposed to do it on that particular day before the nomination closed.