The opposition Democratic Party (DP) is confident of successfully fielding a candidate in the rescheduled Kabwata Constituency Parliamentary by-election after the cancellation of the earlier polls initially set for 20th January 2022.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on Monday cancelled the Kabwata Parliamentary by-election following United Progressive Party candidate Francis Libanda’s withdrawal from the race.
ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano announced during a media briefing in Lusaka that fresh nominations would take place on a date to be announced.
ECZ last month refused to allow the DP candidates for Kabwata, Lingwati, and Sokontwe by-elections from filing in their nominations.
The DP failed to file in their nomination for the Kabwata by-election due to internal wrangles which resulted in the party factions presenting two candidates.
DP Vice President Judith Kabemba, who is battling for the party leadership with President Harry Kalaba, said her group is sure that it will field a candidate when ECZ announces a new date for the nominations in Kabwata Constituency.
Ms. Kabemba said her group has already demonstrated to ECZ that they are the eligible office-bearers by producing documents from the Registrar of Societies.
“We are very confident that we are going to participate because last time the ECZ did not have ample time to understand the situation and what was going on. What we know and what we believe in as DP is that every institution is governed by the constitution of the party as well as documentation that has been submitted to the Registrar of Societies because the Registrar of Societies is the institution that governs how political parties are supposed to operate so the documentation at the Registrar of Societies is clear as to who was supposed to file in the nominations,” she said.
“Obviously ECZ having time now and the engagements that we are doing now we believe that the right thing will be done because like they say numbers don’t lie. I am sure even documentations at the Registrar of Societies will prove the truth,” she said.
Ms Kabemba said her group was not expecting the Kalaba faction to again attempt to field a candidate in Kabwata Constituency.
“There should not be any clashes this time around unless some people want to continue with the habit of lawlessness as they used to be in PF because you know some of these things when they stick in the blood it is difficult to remove them. The papers have proved that our colleagues (Kalaba faction) are not part of our party leadership meaning they do not have the mandate to field a candidate.”
“Even in homes someone cannot come from the streets to dictate that I will be eating chicken thighs that are supposed to be eaten by the father, so even in this case the people who are supposed to field a candidate in Kabwata it is ourselves. It is unfortunate that our brother (Mr. Kalaba) has taken a route which is detrimental and he does not want to adhere to the right thing,” she said.
The by-election in Kabwata Constituency has been necessitated by the death of the United Party for National Development (UPND) Member of Parliament, Mr Levy Mkandawire on Thursday 18th November 2021.
Meanwhile, DP National Executive Committee member Justin Nkonge has declared the party ready for the fresh nominations in Kabwata.
“As DP we stand ready and it might be a blessing in disguise but I want to put it on record that we are not happy by the behaviour of our colleague who withdrew from the elections. We are not jubilating as DP looking at the unfortunate happening from our colleagues. We call that unfortunate because there are a lot of issues involved there; there is a lot of money that was put in to begin with by ECZ, ECZ had gone ahead to print ballot papers including the candidates that field in will be required to raise some more money and start paying the nomination fees,” Mr. Nkonge said