Aparthy Marks Mangango Polls

VOTING in the Mangango parliamentary by-election yesterday closed peacefully with the counting of ballots commencing immediately to determine the winner.

The by-election, which was being contested by six candidates from different political parties, was generally peaceful despite clashes that had preceded it over the weekend.

However, voting started on a slow note with most polling stations visited in three wards recording as little as 20 voters by 08:00 hours yesterday.

By midday, most of the centres were yet to record a 50 per cent voter turnout although the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) said the number had been average.

Chilombo polling station in Shikomwe Ward, which had the highest number of registered voters in the constituency, recorded just 300 by 09:30 hours out of the 1,305 registered voters.

At Namaloba polling centre in the same ward, only had 21 cast their vote by 07:30 hours out of 550 registered voters, while the situation was hardly different at Namimbwe were only 26 out of 372 had voted.

In Mangango Ward, 632 out of the registered 3,408 had cast their votes by 13:30 hours while at Namalazi in the same ward, 243 people had voted by midday.

The Times of Zambia also visited some polling centres in Kapili Ward where the low turnout was equally evident.

Security was tight with every polling centre manned by uniformed police officers while representatives from participating political parties as well as observers were present at each centre.

Apart from the seemingly voter apathy, cadres from the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) clashed with their counterparts from the United Party for National Development (UPND) in Mwanambuyu, one of the remotest wards in the constituency.

Western Province Police Commissioner Lombe Kamukoshi said the cadres clashed at the same place where UPND Katuba MP Jonas Shakafuswa allegedly assaulted six PF cadres at the weekend resulting in his arrest.

“But that was an isolated case and as I am talking to you, the situation is under control because our officers are on the ground in Mwanambuyu,” Ms Kamukoshi said in an interview yesterday.

Ms Kamukoshi said the situation had been quiet during the voting period and expressed confidence that the electorate had cast their ballots without any intimidation.

Meanwhile, FODEP executive director McDonald Chipenzi, who is monitoring the polls, described the voting process as peaceful with voting proceeding without interference.

“So far, the process has been peaceful, there is no intimidation or confrontation and I am pleased to note that all major political parties have their representatives at every polling centre,” Mr Chipenzi said.

Mangango Constituency has 17,157 registered voters in its seven wards, but poor road network to remotest areas may prolong the official announcement of the results.

The ruling PF fielded Lyambai Lingweshi while the UPND floated Godwin Putu with the MMD hoping to retain the seat through Charles Mwenzela.

There was also ADD’s Mweene Naluwa, while UNIP had Janet Chingumbe, with the Fourth Revolution Party fielding Mukumbuta Kabuyana.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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