By Chris Zumani Zimba
According to official results confirmed and published by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on 21st November, 2018, the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) convincingly won the Lusinde Ward local government by-election in Eastern province’s Petauke District, a home town for Patriotic Front (PF) and Zambian Republican President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu as well as Chief Government Spokesperson, Hon. Dora Siliya.
In what can be described as ‘serious political warnings’ for PF ahead of 2021 in President Lungu’s home town, there is jubilation in the UPND camp following the Lusinde Ward by-election results where the UPND’s candidate, Nephat Banda got 730 votes far ahead of the ruling PF’s candidate, Elina Tembo who got 573 and consequently announced as winner and loser by ECZ respectively.
This has politically shocked and exposed both Lungu and the PF given that this area is the village district of the Zambian President as well as the traditional stronghold for the PF and their MMD alliance partner. While many say ‘charity begins at home’, the Lusinde ward by-election results show the opposite for President Lungu and Hon. Dora Siliya. From our end, we can conclude that Lungu’s ‘KATUNDU IS NOT VERY NICE’ in his hometown and among his relatives after his ruling PF lost this local government seat to their main opposition rivals, the UPND.
This is a serious political setback as well as ‘red card’ for Lungu and PF in Eastern province given that the government has systematically, consistently and vigorously been campaigning on the ground by giving out social cash transfer moneys to the poor, bicycles, T-shirts, caps and other party materials as we as citing infrastructure developments such as roads, clinics, schools or bridges as their key winning points. Moreover, the PF has been boasting of Eastern province in general and Petauke district in particular to be the key stronghold for Lungu and the ruling party.
As panic and trauma deepens in the ruling PF over this political humiliation in the Lusinde ward by-elections, the ruling Patriotic Front consequently acted angrily and drastically to punish the local and district party leadership by dissolving all the committees in Kaumbwe Constituency in Petauke. PF General Secretary, Davies Mwila made the announcement on 22nd November, 2018 as follows.
“I write to inform you that Lusinde Ward, Kaumbwe Constituency and Petauke District Committees have been dissolved with immediate effect”….“Kindly be advised that elections shall be arranged by the Provincial Committee in due course.” Mr. Mwila said in a letter.
Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Political Scientist, Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher and Consultant. Besides being the CEO and Managing Consultant at Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU) in Zambia, he analyses African politics weekly on Voice of the Cape Town, South Africa every Wednesday at 16:45hours CAT. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles.