By Venus N Msyani
Rescheduled by-election and a K1.00 drop on fuel price have saved Zambia ruling party United Party for National Development (UPND from losing a seat in parliament.
Kabwata constituency in Lusaka province held by-election on Feb 3rd 2022. It has been won by UPND and was won by the same party last August.
The seat was left vacant after the death of the area member of parliament last November. Rescheduling and a K1.00 drop on fuel price have saved the ruling UPND from losing it.
The by-election was supposed to be held on January 20th 2022. Was cancelled because the United Progressive People (UPP) candidate Francis Libanda decided to discontinue his campaign. Zambian law demands that when that happens new nominations must to take place.
The first round of the campaign, before the by-election was cancelled, proved to be difficult for UPND. President Hakainde Hichilema experienced a very tough time selling the message that the country is better under his administration.
Few days after the first round of campaign had kicked off, a video came out on YouTube showing Kabwata residents complaining about UPND cadres harassing people in the area.
You promised no caderism, but what is this? Kabwata residents are shown questioning President Hichilema Hichilema on the video. He promised that there will be no cadreism under his administration.
The council took over local markets and bus stations in the country few days after the United Party for National Development (UPND) took presidency.
These were the main breeding places for cadres in the previous government. Are where cadres bullied and harassed people most.
Testimonies are being heard as a result of absence of cadres in these areas. People are saying are enjoying peace in markets and bus stations in the country.
Unfortunately, UPND couldn’t use that as a campaign message for Kabwata by-election as cadreism proved to have persisted in the area. Residents questioning president Hakainde on cadreism shattered the idea.
In the final round of the campaign it became even more hard for HH to sell his message in the area that Zambia is better under his administration. In the middle of the campaign, UPND cadres were captured on a video storming the office of Kasama District Administrative Officer, Beauty Namukoko, beating and brutalizing her and accusing her of failing to give UPND youths empowerment funds.
It made peace in markets and bus stops no longer helpful for UPND to win the hearts of electorate in Kabwata as Mis Namukoko attack appeared to unite the country. Every Zambian condemned the attack and Kabwata residents weren’t exceptional.
The new dawn administration needed something different to win the hearts of Kabwata residents and the country at large. At a last minute, dropped price of fuel by a kwacha, capitalized on it and quickly took the message to every corner of Kabwata telling people that Zambia is getting better. People of Kabwata bought the message and have given UPND another chance.
Under Patriotic Front (PF) fuel price was K17 per liter. Today it is K19 per liter. Would one be wrong to conclude that people of Kabwata constituency have been corned? Definitely, a K1.00 drop on fuel price was orchestrated to blind them.