PATRIOTIC Front's (PF) Gabriel Namulambe has scooped the Mpongwe parliamentary seat which was until recently held by the MMD under the same parliamentarian.
Mr Namulambe who quit the former ruling party to join the PF got another bite of the cherry with a comfortable win relegating the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) to third in the winning and losing hierarchy.
Mr Namulambe polled 4,600 votes, while his closest rival Rapson Chilufya of United Party for National Development (UPND) garnered 3,069 votes with MMD's Miniver Mutesa getting 901, while Raphael Ndlovu National Restoration Party (NAREP) got 588 and United National Independence Party (UNIP)'s Ken Kuveya with 110.
Only 9,432 people voted out of the registered 34,642 across 48 polling stations in the vast constituency.
The victorious Member of Parliament (MP) said this marked the beginning of the end for his former party MMD whose demise is being fast-tracked by having a 'wrong president' in Nevers Mumba.
He thanked the candidates who gave him a good run saying, however, that even when word filtered that Mr Chilufya was slicing into his lead, he was unmoved because UPND is a regional party concentrated in Southern Province only.
"The PF is a party we all hated but our penetration into Lambaland is a sign that people are realising that the PF means well. The election is over and it's time for the PF manifesto to manifest on the people of Mpongwe," he said.
Mr Namulambe blamed the voter apathy that marred the by-election on the fear that gripped the voters after the death of a PF official in Livingstone as well as the threat by UPND to invoke their infamous Mapatizya formula.
Runner-up Mr Chilufya said the outcome of the election was not a true reflection of the people of Mpongwe because the electorate had succumbed to intimidation.
"I have accepted defeat but I know that the results are not a true reflection of what the people wanted. The people of Mpongwe have spoken, they are now waiting for the development they were promised," he said.
He said Mr Namulambe knows the needs of the people of Mpongwe better and that they will hold him accountable if the PF does not deliver on what they promised.
Mrs Mutesa claimed that there was no apathy in Mpongwe but that most of her supporters were disfranchised because the PF confiscated their voters' cards and National Registration Cards (NRC's) under the pretext that Government wanted them to form clubs.
There were also contrasting fortunes for Mr Kuveya who had been loudly confident of winning prior to the election but apart from finishing with the least number of votes, he also suffered the ignominy of not getting a single vote at 13 polling stations.
"I am disappointed not with the result but with the fact that people were pretending to accept the message I was sending to them," Mr Kuveya said.
Mr Ndlovu who was magnanimous in defeat bemoaned the apathy that characterised the election.
Meanwhile, the PF has also scooped two out of the three local government by-elections in Mpongwe with an independent candidate winning the other.
In Musofu ward, PF candidate Justin Katimba polled 428 votes followed by UPND's Alick Mulanshi who had 238, while Lighton Chipeta was third with 17 votes.
PF's Alex Ntambo got 204 votes in Luswishi ward where Sydney Weyenga of UPND polled 39 votes while Fackson Mukombe from MMD got six with UNIP's Stanley Saduki getting only a paltry three.
Independent Talkmore Mufwempa won the Kanyenda ward while PF's Luckson Chimoto was second followed by Daniel Mboyonga (UPND), Fredrick Chintala (MMD), Kingsley Kiyumbi (NAREP) and John Mwape of UNIP in that order.
In Namwala constituency, PF candidate Oliver Ndombe polled 392 votes followed by UPND's Victor Shiluwe with 348 votes while Goodwin Mulachi of MMD's had 28 votes. Mr Ndombe resigned from UPND to join PF.
In Mbala, PF candidate Nondo Sikazwe beat MMD's Stephen Bwalya a two man race. Webster Chilungu of PF emerged victorious in Mwatishi ward in Masaiti district beating two other candidates, MMD's Humphrey Mwami and UPND's Gilbert Mulima.
And the PF has described the win in Mpongwe as a true testimony that the people of Zambia had confidence in Mr Sata's Government and leadership.
Director for communication and public relations Chanda Mfula said Zambians had realised that they could only realise development by working with the PF Government.
He said MMD leader Nevers Mumba and UPND's Hakainde Hichilema should learn a lesson from the by-election which signified that the ruling party was penetrating the entire country.