UNIP yesterday cancelled its campaign rally at Mpongwe main market after it became apparent that party president Tilyenji Kaunda, who was supposed to be the guest speaker, would not show up.
Mr Kaunda was supposed to address a campaign rally at midday to drum up support for his party's candidate in the Mpongwe parliamentary by-election set for Thursday, Ken Kuveya.
Mr Kuveya confirmed the cancellation of the rally which he said was due to other commitments by the party president.He said it was a minor setback that would have no bearing on his performance in the election.
"Since my president could not make it, we decide to cancel the rally at Mpongwe Market. As you know, Mr Kaunda is a president of a political party with so many national commitments," he said.
The candidate said on the positive side of the cancellation was the fact that the campaign team was able to mobilise itself to visit wards that had not yet been touched before the closure of the stipulated time for campaigns.
On President Michael Sata questioning his nationality at a rally on Sunday, Mr Kuveya said he was a Ngoni from Lundazi and that the President mentioned him as a traditional cousin.
UPND Copperbelt Province chairperson Elisha Matambo accused Government of heavily militarising Mpongwe as if the country was at war, adding that the presence of police officers would intimidate voters.
Mr Matambo, however, said no amount of intimidation would sway the voters who had already made up their minds that they would vote for the UPND candidate Rapson Chilufya.
He said President Sata rightfully told Mpongwe residents using an adage that a bird chooses which tree to sit on and that similarly the constituents should be allowed to make the right choice on Thursday.
PF campaign manager in Mpongwe Jean Kapata said with President Sata and Guy Scott making an appearance in Mpongwe, the seat was 100 per cent going to be scooped by Gabriel Namulambe.