7 January 2013

Zambia: Mpongwe By-Election - Parties Begin Preps

POLITICAL parties have started flexing their muscles ahead of the Mpongwe parliamentary by-election set for February 28.

Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary General Wynter Kabimba said yesterday that the party had advertised for candidates wishing to stand to apply for adoption for the Mpongwe Constituency seat.

Mr Kabimba said it was not surprising that the MMD and the United Party for National Development (UPND) had failed to reach a consensus on fielding one candidate.

MMD president Nevers Mumba said in a separate interview that the constituency and district committees were on the ground scrutinising a list of applicants.

Dr Mumba said the MMD National Executive Committee (NEC) would then meet to pick the candidate who would be announced next week.

"As you know, Mpongwe is an MMD stronghold but we are not taking that for granted. We have left it to our structures in the constituency and at the district level to have an input," he said.

He said the MMD had submitted some observations to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to ensure there was no repeat of what he described as malpractices that were "so glaring" during the Mufumbwe by-election.

"It's either the ECZ ensures all the political parties abide by rules and regulations or allow all of us to flout the rules at will like the PF did in Mufumbwe. We hope to engage them before the election comes," he said.

On the pact with UPND, Dr Mumba said both parties were making separate arrangements but were still open to working together.

UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said the party had sent senior officials to Mpongwe to assess the situation in the constituency before naming the candidate.

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