The Mayembe Ward in Shiwang’andu District of Muchinga Province is gearing up for a by-election today. According to Isaac Mwale, the Shiwang’andu District Electoral Officer, all preparations are in place, and the deployment of poll staff is proceeding as planned.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Vice Chairperson, Ambassador Ali Simwinga, expressed the commission’s satisfaction with the peaceful environment during the campaign period. He commended the participating political parties for maintaining unity and respect, stating that the commission hopes the by-elections will be conducted successfully and peacefully.
Ambassador Simwinga assured the public that the ECZ has diligently worked to ensure necessary logistics are in place and that all poll staff are adequately trained for the local government poll. The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Ward Councilor Hosea Chitemboi on October 1, 2023.
However, amidst the optimism surrounding the by-election, controversy has erupted.
Fred M’membe, President of the Socialist Party, accused the UPND of making it impossible to have free and fair by-elections. M’membe claimed that the UPND is distributing large sums of money to voters and even resorting to slaughtering animals to influence the outcome of the by-elections.
M’membe questioned the integrity of the process, labeling the UPND’s actions as shameless and without restraint. He drew parallels to past accusations against the Patriotic Front (PF) for fraudulent victories in ward by-elections.
M’membe challenged the UPND, stating, “Let them deceive themselves and ‘win’ and see where it will take them. The PF used to cheat themselves with fraudulent ward by-election victories. But where did it take them?”