Hon. Joseph Malanji

By Simon Chiti

A SENIOR PF official on the Copperbelt has expressed worry that the ruling party’s Kwacha parliamentary candidate Joseph Malanji could lose the seat.

Meanwhile, the Socialist Party candidate Grace Namunyola says, “We have very high chances of scooping the seat because we are on the ground. We know that PF is more on the nichekeleko side (dishing out money), but reality is coming for them on election day.”

The official told The Mast on condition of anonymity that Malanji’s posturing that he had already won the seat could spell doom for himself and the PF presidential candidate Edgar Lungu.

Malanji, the immediate-past PF member of parliament who is re-contesting the seat, has not campaigned much in the area since the campaigns officially opened.

But he has been an active campaigner for the ruling party in other parts of the country, which has concerned several PF bigwigs on the Copperbelt that the move risked the presidential vote as the opposition UPND have gained ground in Kwacha Constituency due to Malanji’s absence.

“You know, the appointment of honourable Frank Ng’ambi and Mr Mbachi as presidential campaign managers on the Copperbelt, these are great men; very hardworking, decent and honest. And they have hit the ground running. But the problem they face is people like honourable Malanji’s posturing to the high party hierarchy that he is a popular person,” said the PF official. “You can see he is everywhere. He has literally left Kwacha to the opposition, yet, the ground is very different from the picture he is portraying. We risk getting fewer votes especially for the President in Kwacha which is the largest voting block by numbers in Kitwe. This election is tough, it’s a high stakes game. Unfortunately, some people think that because they have given people money, it’s a done deal. We have problems on the ground.”

And Malanji’s UPND opponent Charles Mulenga charged that Malanji’s small monetary handouts that young boys fought for could not be called development.

In an interview, Mulenga challenged any person to go on the ground and verify if indeed the place was as developed as Malanji and the PF portrayed it to be.

“People are free to come and verify in both the peri-urban and urban areas of Kwacha Constituency. When you go to the peri-urban areas like Chantete, Musonda and Lubwa, there are a lot of problems in these areas,” he said. “There is no road worth talking about since my colleague (Malanji) has been there for five years. I don’t know what people mean when they say development because development must be visible; not throwing money that leads to fights among young boys. His version of development is just throwing money around, handouts that young men fight for. But this is not development.”

Mulenga said it was embarrassing that after 57 years of independence there were community schools in urban areas like Kwacha-Bulangililo.

He added that Malanji should use the money he throws around to upgrade schools in the area so that teachers get employed.

“These are populated areas in need of services like health and education closer to them but there are places that don’t have such social services because they have been neglected. It is equally embarrassing that in modern era we have people in urban areas like Kwacha still using pit latrines,” Mulenga said. “57 years of independence, urban areas have community schools as in Ipusukilo, Bulangililo and Musonda. We are supposed to upgrade these schools to become fully fledged schools. That’s why we have trained teachers roaming the streets. He (Malanji) is popular because he is throwing money around, which leaves young ones fighting as they jostle to have a share of small, small monies. The money he is throwing around is supposed to be used to put up lasting development that trickles down to the entire population of Kwacha Constituency for generations.”

He offered himself for leadership that he said would develop Kwacha Constituency in reality.

“And that’s why I am offering myself under the sponsorship of the UPND, to come and give hope to the people because at the moment they are out of reach with decent life,” said Mulenga. “Things are too hard for them. We will better the economy. Together with my party we will deliver real development. We will give our young
people life-saving skills.”

Meanwhile, Namunyola expressed confidence of scooping the seat.

She said even though her competitors were bragging about winning, she would not just stand aloof.

“We are on the ground and the response from people is overwhelming for the SP. I’m confident that even if elections were called in the next two days, people would turn out in numbers to go and vote; and they would vote for the Socialist Party,” said Namunyola. “I know that some people are claiming to have won already. But they will be shocked when results come after 12th August because I am winning. We have very high chances of scooping the seat because we are on the ground. We know that PF is more on the nichekeleko side (dishing out money), but reality is coming for them on election day. It’s good that people have woken up from slavery imposed on them by one person.”

Last month Malanji told the Mast in Kitwe that whoever thought they could match-up to his popularity would get a rude awakening, come August 12.

“They want to match me in Kwacha? We shall see what will happen on 12th August. Me, I don’t throw money around, I have worked to uplift the standards of living for the people,” said Malanji. “I have just been working to change the constituency, to develop the area and the people. Where did they see me throwing money around?”


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