By Mukosha Funga
NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has won the Roan parliamentary seat for his candidate Joseph Chewe after ‘single-handedly’ demolishing President Edgar Lungu’s high powered campaign delegation that comprised two-thirds of his Cabinet, musicians and comedians.
With ballots from all 43 polling stations counted by around 02:10 hours, Friday, official ECZ results confirmed NDC’s Chewe as winner with 8,665, making him the first member of parliament for the opposition party, which has only been in existence for just over a year.
PF candidate Joel Chibuye got 5,533 votes despite the massive support from government and his party.
Mines Minister Richard Musukwa, led an unprecedented campaign delegation list into Luanshya District where they camped and mounted a vigorous campaign, against Kambwili and his otherwise ‘little-known’ candidate; making it almost impossible for the cash-strapped opposition party to stand any chance of winning.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister Mulenga Kampamba, Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo, his Copperbelt counterpart Japhen Mwakalombe and Luanshya Mayor Nathan Chanda joined Musukwa in Roan Constituency during the entire period, conducting door-to-door campaigns.
Three days before the poll date, Vice President Inonge Wina did her part in persuading the electorate before the President himself brought Luanshya to a stand still for two days as he tore apart the dismissed former chief government spokesperson whom he also expelled from the ruling party in 2017.
“When voting on 11th April, make sure you finish those who have illusions that they will form government in 2021! That man has demons. They say ‘birds of the same feathers flock together. When people are thieves, they walk together, prostitutes walk together, those who are wizards also walk together! So, those who are walking with Kambwili are fools! Tabakwata skopodonono!” rattled President Lungu as the crowd cheered.
Others who campaigned for the PF candidate in Roan Include: Davies Mwila, Professor Nkandu Luo, MMD Muchinga MP Howard Kunda, Bwana Mkubwa MP Jonas Chanda, Chilanga MP Maria Langa, Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe, President Lungu’s political advisor Kaizer Zulu, Lunshaya MP Steven Chungu, Lands Minister Jean Kapata and his Agriculture counterpart Michael Kabombo, to mention but a few.
Money, food, clothes and other campaign gifts were dished out to voters, as the ruling party painted the mining town green.
But it was Kambwili who campaigned (with little help from the UPND) from his small white van using a simple megaphone, who carried the day in a political upset that went contrary to all analysts’ predictions and expectations.
As results poured in, PF officials started leaving the totalling centre one-by-one in frustration, leaving Kambwili on top of the moon as he bragged “Ka Lungu, vice-president nama ministers yobe 24, naminyokola! (Lungu, your Vice-President and 24 ministers, I have walloped you!), this is just the beginning I am coming for you one-by-one.”
At around 02:10 hours, Roan Constituency returning officer Emmanuel Makulila declared Chishala as duly elected MP, leaving other participants like PAC’s Chama Mwansa with a paltry 210 votes ahead of UPPZ candidate Morgan Banda who came last with 143.
It remains to be seen if PF Secretary General Davies Mwila will resign from his position, as he promised to do if NDC won the Roan seat.
The PF, however, carried the day in Bahati, where the NDC left the challenge to the opposition UPND as part of their Alliance agreement. But that outcome was not good enough for ruling party pundits who vanished from social media yesterday, as they could not bear the embarrassment.
Meanwhile, PF cadres turned violent after the party lost the Roan election, and resorted to stoning the ECZ vehicles that were ferrying electoral officers and campaign materials to the totalling centre.
“In the case of Roan Constituency, movement of presiding officers to the totalling centre is restricted due to unruly cadres who have resorted to violently attacking Commission vehicles. The attacks now require that the Commission delivers results to the totalling centre with the assistance of Police escorts,” read a statement released by ECZ shortly before midnight yesterday.
“In the case of Bahati Constituency, the heavy downpour which occurred last night has caused flooding which is slowing down the pace at which vehicles can move to bring Presiding Officers to the Totalling Centre.”