Speaker of the National Assembly declared these two seats vacant after the expulsion, from the ruling Patriotic Front, of Chishimba Kambwili and Harry Kalaba who were Roan and Bahati members of parliament respectively. Kambwili’s party, the National Democratic Congress, decided to field a candidate for the by-election in Roan while Kalaba’s Democratic Party opted not to. For the DP, just like the Socialist Party, they consider by-elections as a waste of money for them – at least that is what they have said so far.
During the campaigns, the participating political parties – opposition and the ruling Patriotic Front – utilized the moment to sell their manifestos and candidates for the two parliamentary by-elections and begged the people of the two constituencies to vote for their respective political parties. The political parties promised the residents of the two areas what they will do if elected in the by-elections. The opposition, the entire campaign period, dwelt most on what is seen as the failure of the party in power. Other participants like the People’s Action for Change The ruling Patriotic Front itself got the chance to reassure the voters of their capability to turn things around because they are in control of the Treasury that disburses money for different projects across the country. This is a fact!
The candidates themselves took time to present their plans to the people of Bahati and Roan constituencies and made promises of what they are able to achieve during the remainder of the current National Assembly. What remains now is for the people of these two areas to vote today for that candidate whom they consider to have the best of ideas that resonate with their needs. During campaigns, all ideas sound perfect and just the best for any electorate but the candidate’s capability to deliver on the promises is usually judged by their political party’s muscle to pool resources together.
One thing that stands out from these two by-elections is the peaceful manner in which the campaigns were conducted. Roan and Bahati have presented a perfect example of how elections ought to be conducted in this country. Zambians were getting tired of the ‘panga to panga’ mentality, which was being planted in some political party cadres at the expense of peace. Prior to the campaigns, President Edgar Lungu made a strong warning against violence during these by-elections and ordered the police to arrest anyone who will be found perpetrating the vice. He repeatedly talked about how the shame of Sesheke was still haunting the country because of mere political disagreements between two political parties. If Roan and Bahati managed to peacefully hold campaigns for the by-elections, why is it difficult for other areas of the country to do the same? Political violence shows a serious lack of civilization because an election should not be about hacking each other with pangas and axes, or stabbing each
other with knives.
Lastly, to all those taking part in today’s by-elections, remember that real work will begin after the voting day when the winner is announced. Remember all the promises made to the people and deliver on them. All the best to you all! May the best man win!