Blood brothers in election battle

KIPAYILA and Killan Matolokoshi.

THE Nkenyauna local government by-election in Kasempa district in North-Western Province will go down in the political history of Zambia as one where two biological brothers battled for the seat on different political party tickets.The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) has adopted Killan Matolokoshi as its candidate in the September 6 local government by-election, while the United Party for National Development (UPND) has adopted his elder brother Kipayila Matolokoshi.
The ward by-election was necessitated by the resignation of a UPND councillor, Eric Kikwama who crossed over to the PF.
Given the current scenario, the people of Nkenyauna ward have no option but to choose from the two brothers on who should be their representative in the council.
The two were born and bred in Kasempa (were born at Mukinge Mission Hospital). They both attended Nkenyauna Primary School and completed school at Kasempa Day Secondary School.
Kipayila is a small-scale farmer, just like his younger brother Killan, a former miner at Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi, now earning a living through poultry and livestock production.
Nkenyauna ward, which is one of the vast wards in Kasempa constituency, has numerous challenges ranging from poor road network, lack of access to clean and safe drinking water and high poverty levels.
The by-election in the ward therefore presents a great opportunity to the people of Nkenyauna to choose a leader who is going to adequately address their needs.
The former councillor stepped down without fulfilling his campaign promises in the run up to the 2016 general elections.
By vying for a political seat on rival political parties, the Matolokoshi brothers may be perceived as sworn enemies. However, they say the opposite is true.
Both Killan and Kipayila say although the elections have pitted them against each other, they still love each other.
Kipayila though, further says they are not as close-knit as before after they filled nomination papers as rival candidates.
Killan, the younger one, who was born in 1984, says he decided to stand on the PF ticket because it is the only party that can deliver development to the area.
He says there is nothing sinister about his decision to challenge his elder brother in the Nkenyauna ward by-election. The 34-year-old says he is motivated by the desire to serve his local community.
“I have been in the community for a long time and I understand the challenges better,” he said in an interview.
Killan describes his relationship with his elder brother as cordial.
“He is my blood brother and I love my elder brother. Even the time he told me that he wanted to contest as councillor, I said no problem if you think the party you like (UPND) will bring development.
“But I told him it’s only PF that can bring development. But we agreed that he could continue supporting the opposition party, while I also continue supporting the ruling party,” he said.
Killan says despite being blood brothers, who once lived under one roof, they have agreed to disagree because they hold different political ideologies.
“We have not separated and he is still my brother that I love very much even if he is in the opposition,” he said.
Killan expects that the two rival camps will conduct issue-based campaigns and has since cautioned his supporters to avoid smear campaigns.
“I always tell my supporters not to insult my brother or anyone from the UPND. I want them to go out and tell the people what PF will do when I am elected councillor,” he said.
The younger Matolokoshi expressed confidence of winning the local-government seat, saying the locals are tired of the opposition UPND and have expressed interest to work with the ruling party to speed up development in the ward.
He cited road construction, water reticulation, the construction of schools and health centres as some of the needs he wants to address if he is elected councillor.
Killan is calling for peace before, during and after the elections.
“We are not quarrelling, but we only align to two different political parties,” they said emphatically.
Killan says he will concede defeat if he loses, but has no intentions of crossing over to the UPND.
“I will never join the UPND. But if my brother wins, I will criticise him when he is wrong,” he said.
In a separate interview, Kipayila says he harbours no hatred for his younger brother because the rule of democracy demands that aspirants for political office need to competition in an election.
Born on December 12, 1977, Kipayila said he is still enjoying a cordial relationship with his younger brother despite challenging him in the by-election.
“I joined active politics in 2003 as a member of the then ruling party, MMD and I understand how politics work. In 2011 after we lost power to the PF, I joined the UPND.
“Regarding my relationship with my brother, we are enjoying a good relationship. And since we are in a democratic country, he has got the right to stand on a party of his choice,” he says.
Kipayila says no matter what the outcome of the September 6 by-election will be, the political divide cannot destroy the bond he shares with his younger brother.
“At the end of the day, he is still my brother and people are free to vote for the candidate of their choice,” he says.
Kipayila says he expected his brother to rally behind him in the Nkenyauna ward by-election and allow him to compete against a non-family member.
But this is just a wish and he cannot force Killan out of the race.
Although he claims, he has no hard feelings against Killan, in a somewhat contradictory statement, Kipayila admits that their relationship got strained after they both filed nomination papers for the Nkenyauna seat.
“So I don’t know who was influencing him and I have seen our relationship is becoming sour day by day because of late I haven’t received a phone call from him. But I know he can’t do away with me. I know he will still get back to me and I will welcome him because I still love my younger brother,” he said.
Kipayila, who said he was confident of winning the elections, called for a free and fair election.
He is also ready to concede defeat if his younger brother wins.
“All I want is the will of the people to prevail and I will concede because in an election there is only one winner and I am prepared for that,” he said.
Kipayila adds that the people of Nkenyauna ward want a mature person like him to represent their interests in the council chamber.
“My chances are very high because people are saying we have to go for maturity and my younger brother can’t surpass my maturity. I know him very well, having grown up in my home,” Kipayila said.
However, the mother of the two siblings is rallying with her younger son, Killan.
In an interview, Mailoni Mambwe said Killan is the people’s choice because they are tired of voting for the opposition without seeing any positive outcome.
Ms Mambwe said he had advised her older son Kipayila, to pull out of the race and throw his weight behind his brother, but he insisted on running on the UPND ticket.
“Myself, I am on PF because we want a progressive party. And this talk of saying we are waiting for this party to form government may not be reality. We want to see development and that development can only come if we work with the party in government,” Ms Mambwe said.
She said Killan had at some point opted out of the local government by-election and decided to look for a job as a depot clerk at the Food Reserve Agency.
However, the people persuaded him to run in the forthcoming by-elections because he is their preferred candidate.
“People have already chosen that they want the younger one and there is nothing I can do,” she said.
Ms Mambwe, who says she loves her sons equally, says her decision to rally with Killan was inspired by the desire to see development in Nkenyauna.
The Nkenyauna seat fell vacant after a UPND councillor crossed over to the PF.
The ward has 2,100 registered voters and three polling stations.

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