I was not paid to withdraw from the Race-Independent candidate

Independent candidate in Thursday’s Kabushi parliamentary by-election in Ndola candidate Alfred Yombwe has denied allegations that he was paid to withdraw from the race.

Mr Yombwe, whose campaign symbol was an umbrella, has since written to the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Returning Officer in the Kabushi by election over his decision to withdraw from the election.

According to the Electoral Process Act under Section 31(2), the law requires the cancellation of elections and calling for fresh nominations whenever a candidate withdraws.

The ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) has alleged that some candidates in Kabushi and Kwacha Constituencies have been bribed to withdraw from the by elections.

But Mr. Yombwe said he made the decision to withdraw from the Kabushi race without any external influence.

The young politician said he has a constitutional right to withdraw from the by-election.

Mr. Yombwe also complained of being disadvantaged by the ruling UPND in the campaign period leading to the by-election in Kabushi.

Mr. Yombwe said he has not been able to campaign properly because the Electoral Commission of Zambia halted the campaign when Vice President Mutale Nalumango and President Hakainde Hichilema separately visited Kabushi Constituency.

He also alleged that his supporters have been intimidated by UPND supporters and are now scared to go out and campaign.

He added that the UPND had been dishing out money to homes and churches that have been visited by President Hichilema and Mrs Nalumango.

“There is no amount of money which can buy my constitutional right. There is no amount of money which can buy my constitutional right which I have committed myself to uphold by virtue of me being a citizen of this country. So, there is no amount of money which can buy my constitutional right. Whatever will happen I have resigned, I have withdrawn. The constitution will guide us on the way forward,” Mr. Yombwe said in Ndola.

“You remember last week, the Vice President (Mutale Nalumango) was in the constituency (Kabushi). The ECZ called all the candidates and stopped us from campaigning saying we needed to give space to the Vice President. She was there for three days and we were not campaigning. Just after she left, the President was here again. We were called by the ECZ and they told us not to go for campaigns until the president leaves after five days. And you know politics are like football we have got tactics we can employ toward the end of the game but if we are barred from camping how are we going to execute those tactics? It is very unfair for us candidates,” Mr. Yombwe said.

He continued:”Then we were complaining in PF that the government was using public resources to campaign for their candidates. We had the Vice President coming here using taxpayers money to campaign for their candidate. The President and the Vice President campaigning for their candidate using public resources disadvantaged me as an independent candidate. So, we cannot move on with this nonsense going on around the country. We can’t keep on massaging the same injustices we were complaining about in PF. What has changed? Is there any justification? Then we had someone from plot one (State House) who visited that family with triplets in Kabushi, he left some money amounting to K10, 000. Is that not malpractice? Then the second authority in this land, she was worshipping in Lubuto UCZ (United Church of Zambia). She dished out some money to Churches, are these not the allegations that led to the nullification of that seat? So we can’t continue massaging the same things. Then we had some incidents of political violence, UPND were beating the PF who are not even contesting for this seat and my campaign team feared for their lives. It is not fair at all so the best way is just to resign and withdraw from the race.”

Four candidates successfully filled in their nominations for the Kabushi Parliamentary by election in Ndola on 25th August, 2022.

The successful candidates were Osius Telela of the Leadership Movement, UPND’s Bernard Kanengo, Richard Kalasa an independent candidate and Alfred Yombwe another independent candidate.

Earlier on Monday Mr Yombwe wrote to ECZ: “I write to inform you that pursuant to Article 52 (6) of the Constitution of Zambia, I have resigned and withdrawn my candidature from the forthcoming Kabushi Constituency by election scheduled for September 15th 2022 due to unfair practices on the part of other candidates in the campaign which includes distribution of money to the electorates as seen in some videos and beating up of people by the UPND. My campaign team has since been afraid to freely campaign.”

The Kabushi Seat fell vacant after the Constitutional Court upheld the High Court’s decision to nullify the election of Patriotic Front (PF”s) Bowman Lusambo over violence and bribery.

Mr. Lusambo attempted to re-contest the seat but ECZ rejected his nomination, the decision he is fighting in the courts of law.

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