The outcome of the Kaoma council chairperson by-election held on Thursday, October 10, 2019 is very interesting. This particular by-election pitted two giants on the Zambian political scene who went an extra mile to convince the people of Kaoma that their candidates deserved the votes.
The UPND, having previously held the seat, spent sleepless nights canvassing for votes in all areas of Kaoma. For the Patriotic Front, we saw the effort put in whereby the Head of State, President Edgar Lungu, held rallies in the area selling his political party to the people of Kaoma. What is sad, however, is that these political parties engaged in violence that saw the death of a UPND member, Laurence Banda, who has since been put to rest. The Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Zambia Police Service have, however, promised to work relentlessly to ensure no incidences of the political violence seen in Kaoma occur in any other future elections.
Turning to the results, the UPND’s candidate, Austin Muneru, has narrowly won the election with 7,801 votes against closest contender, Ngebe Ngombo of the Patriotic Front, who trailed with 7,649 votes! The third and last candidate was UPPZ’s Choola Maseka who polled 431. These are the results verified and released by the Electoral Commission of Zambia. What we see is a tremendous push by the ruling Patriotic Front to get as much votes as possible in areas perceived to be the opposition UPND strongholds, compared to their performance in the general election of 2016. And the Patriotic Front has in Thursday’s by-election won a ward in Kabompo district in North Western Province. This is an area that not long ago gave negligible votes to the ruling party. What are these results telling us? Well, we leave it at that.
It is on this premise that PF Secretary General Honourable Davies Mwila has said: “We certainly have every reason to walk with our heads high. We are therefore once again jubilant with thanks giving to our Lord God Almighty for the PF’s unstoppable momentum across former UPND strongholds…we [also] celebrate our very significant victory in Chikonkwelo Ward of Kabompo where we got more than 60 per cent of the vote and whitewashed the opposition in a former UPND stronghold. To the people of Kabompo and our gallant grassroots structures, we say, ‘twa santa mwane.’ You have embraced development and liberated yourselves from agents of selfishness, bitterness and under-development…On the surface, it may look like we lost the vote count [in Kaoma] but the reality is that we have gained more than we had before while the UPND have lost exponentially. In 2016, UPND had 70% of the vote for the Kaoma Council Chairperson election, while PF only had 15%. But in yesterday’s election, PF has made substantial gains and the difference now is only marginal 152 votes. In fact, the result from the slim margin could have easily swung in our favour, had it not been for the UPND violence which triggered voter apathy, and many of our voters were traumatised by UPND brutality. The huge positive swing of votes in favour of PF echoes those from Mangango not too long ago and it shows that the people of Kaoma and Western Province are fed up of being under the bondage of underdevelopment just because of the selfish agenda of one man.”
Lastly, we congratulate the UPND for retaining this Kaoma seat and the PF for putting up a good fight that has been reflected in the results of this by-election.