Opposition Alliance partners UPND and NDC are set to face-off in the up-coming Lubwa Ward by-election in Kitwe, a situation which UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma admits is awkward.
But NDC member of the central committee Charles Kabwita says NDC is set to win the election, whether or not UPND fields a candidate, further reiterating his party’s position that it will support UPND in Katuba.
In an interview, Monday, Kakoma confirmed that his party was fielding a candidate in the ward election, saying there was no power-sharing agreement with NDC in place.
“I am informed that they have identified a candidate so we are likely to field there,” Kakoma said.
“There was no agreement so far, I think the only understanding that was there was for Roan and thereafter, we have just been using our discretions as political parties. But otherwise, so far, we have not hammered out any agreement on how we should share for lack of a better word the constituencies or wards. Maybe that will be a matter that the Opposition Alliance will want to consider as soon as possible but for now there is no such power sharing agreement or electoral pact.”
Asked how it would be to compete with an alliance partner, Kakoma said it would be awkward.
“Well, it is an awkward situation that’s why I am saying we need to sort out that matter as soon as possible,” he said.
Asked if the UPND was happy that NDC was backing them in Katuba, Kakoma replied in the affirmative.
“Yes, in Katuba it looks like there’s no problem, there are no issues because the alliance partners came to a reasonable conclusion that Katuba was previously held by UPND so they did not want to start competing against UPND which are the owners of the constituency. Just like we made the same reasoning over Roan, we thought that Roan was held by Dr Chishimba Kambwili and it would not have made sense for us to field a candidate in Chishimba’s constituency. But those are one-off situations. Going forward, we need to hammer out an agreement so that things become clear,” said Kakoma.
And in a separate interview, Kabwita said NDC would still scoop the ward, regardless.
“I think they (UPND) have a candidate, I met him by the council, we went for a briefing today. I am not too privy to what they agreed upon in accordance with Lubwa Ward but I think our main focus here, as member of the central committee in charge of Lubwa, I think my main focus is to make sure that the ground is fertile for NDC and not to look for any other political parties’ efforts. I think we have done our homework and we are optimistic that come 30th May, we will carry the day,” Kabwita said.
“So whether UPND is fielding a candidate or not, I think for us in Kitwe, and particularly in Lubwa Ward, our main focus is the election. If UPND will decide to support us, that will be a bonus. But if they field a candidate, NDC has already secured its vote and no matter how many opposition political parties will contest Lubwa, we will still emerge victorious because the people of Lubwa Ward have resolved. And we are in constant touch with the people and they have assured us that come 30th, they will give us a vote. So for us, we are not focussed on who is standing, who is not standing, we started campaigning two months ago. We know what we are talking about, we are optimistic and we are determined to win this election because we have so much good will from the people.”
Kabwita said NDC would still support UPND in Katuba because their leader, Chishimba Kambwili, was a man of his words.
“We made a commitment and we shall ensure that we endeavor to honor our commitment. Remember, our party president, Dr Chishimba Kambwili, has always indicated that he is ready to be led and anyone who wants to lead must always be prepared to be led. So our leader is not preoccupied with leading but he is also ready to be led. So we will honor our obligation to support our alliance partner in Katuba and anywhere where we feel we will not field a candidate. I wish to re-affirm what the president said, we will support UPND in Katuba and all our members are aware of this. My president always honors his word so that shall come to pass,” said Kabwita.