â€¦as MMD stumbles, UPND stalls
By JIMMY CHIBUYE
The ruling Patriotic Frontâ€™s (PF) popularity has continued to grow with three more seats added to its tally in Parliament after Thursdayâ€™s five by-elections.
And the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), the former ruling party, has lost ground further, including in its stronghold of Eastern Province, where the PF has captured its second parliamentary seat â€“ Vubwi.
In winning the Vibwi, Mkushi South and Zambezi West parliamentary seats in Thursdayâ€™s by-elections, the PF has brought its mark in Parliament to 74 in the 158-seat House.
The PF came into office in 2011 with 60 seats but has gradually increased its numbers through by-elections, including the recent win in the Mangango polls.
Four of the five seats at stake in the polls had been held by MMD members but the party has lost three of them, retaining only the Kasenengwa seat through Victoria Kalima, who is one of three women to have emerged victorious in these by-elections.
The MMD has lost the Vubwi and Mkushi North seats to the PF and the Solwezi Central seat to the United Party for National Development (UPND).
This further diminishes the MMDâ€™s strength in Parliament.Â It now has 37 seats. After the 2011 general elections, the MMD had 55 seats.
The UPNDâ€™s win in Solwezi has been neutralised by its loss of the Zambezi West seat to the PF.Â It, too, now has 37 seats.
From Vubwi, JIMMY CHIBUYE reports that the PF won the Vubwi by-election through Margaret Miti with 3,797 votes against her closest rival, the MMDâ€™s Eustarckio Kazonga, the immediate past MP, who got 1,091 votes.
The poll, which was characterised by voter apathy, was also contested by UPNDâ€™s Afonso Phiri, who got 761 votes, and Forum for Democracy and Developmentâ€™s (FDD) Charles Nyoka, who obtained 649.
United National Independence Partyâ€™s (UNIP) Lucas Phiri had 395 votes.
Vubwi Constituency returning officer Joshua Daka declared Ms Miti as a duly elected MP at 03:30 hours as her supporters burst into jubilation.
He said 122 ballots were rejected as invalid out of the total 6,815 recorded.Â Vubwi has 18,084 registered voters.
â€œI feel humbled to win and I want to thank President Sata for the confidence he showed in me by selecting me. It was a rough journey I must admit. I was the only female candidate and I have done it with the support from the people of Vubwi,â€ Ms Miti said.
In Chipata, DARLINGTON MWENDABAI and HOPE NYOKA report that the MMD retained the Kasenengwa seat through Victoria Kalima who beat his closest rival Gideon Zulu of the PF by 7,452 votes.
Ms Kalima got 10,936 votes against Mr Zuluâ€™s 3,484, whileÂ UPND candidate Timothy Nyirenda got 439 votes and UNIPâ€™s Khumbiza Daka had 280 votes.
Kasenengwa constituency has 41,795 eligible voters but only 15,139 voted.
In Zambezi West, NKWETO MFULA reports that the PF has scooped the Zambezi West seat with a landslide victory through Christabel Njimbu on 3,429 votes against her closet rival UPNDâ€™s Charles Kakoma, who got 1,173 votes.
Mr Kakoma has been Zambezi West MP for the past 13 years until the courts nullified his 2011 election for electoral malpractice.
The MMDâ€™s Prisca Kucheka got 150 votes, FDDâ€™s Mark Kachongo got 83 votes, Green Partyâ€™s Chilila Kayombo had 32 votes and the NAREPâ€™s Hastings Kanguya had eight votes.
Zambezi West has 10,260 registered voters.
PFâ€™s Zambezi West campaign manager Wylbur Simuusa said: â€œChoosing to work with the ruling party will result in accelerated development in the region.â€
From Luano, CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI reports that the PF won the Mkushi South seat through Davies Chisopaâ€™s 2,268 votes.
MMDâ€™s Sydney Chisanga, the immediate past MP, polled 1,458 votes.
The UPNDâ€™s Agnes Mambwe had 1,012 votes.
In Solwezi, BUTTYSON KANDIMBA reports that the UPND won the Solwezi Central seat through Dawson Kafwaya with 4,577 votes.
The PF candidate Newton Malwa was second on got 3,105 votes while the MMDâ€™s Lucky Mulusa was a distant third on 1,897 votes.
FDDâ€™s Nathan Mulonga was in fourth position with 304 votes followed by UNIPâ€™s Mary Katiki on 158 votes.
The poll had 10,242 people voting with 201 of the ballots rejected. The constituency has 52,900 registered voters.
The seat fell vacant after the Supreme Court nullified the election of Mr Mulusa on grounds of electoral malpractice.
Mr Kafwaya promised to address the many challenges facing Solwezi Central constituency such as the bad roads and poor sanitation.
Hundreds of UPND supporters turned up to witness the counting of the votes and started celebrating at as early as 20:00 hours even before the final results were announced.
â€¦as MMD stumbles, UPND stalls