Viewpoint: The Roan, Bahati Political Dynamics

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By GEORGE CHOMBA

Without Chishimba Kambwili and Harry Kalaba re-contesting their Roan and Bahati parliamentary seats respectively, to a lesser critical mind, the by-elections set for April 11, 2019 are a walk in the park for the Patriotic Front (PF).

This is at face value when political factors are put in motion. 

Take for instance the Roan Constituency which rests in the bosom of the PF’s stronghold, Copperbelt Province, out of the 22 constituencies, the PF in the 2016 general elections tacked in almost all the seats.

Don’t talk about the Lufwanyama seat won by UPND Member of Parliament Leonard Fungulwe and an independent such as Kantanshi Member of Parliament Anthony Mumba because of a defective adoption process. 

Mr Mumba went for it as a popular Independent candidate and today he is in Parliament reminding the PF of a better adoptions process.

Coming back to Roan constituency which has a total of 43 polling stations with 25,406 registered voters, the PF went for Chishimba Kambwili in 2016 general elections.

Mr Kambwili garnered 11,397 votes, beating the closest rival Andrew Kayekesi of the UPND who got 5099. On April 11 since he is campaigning for his National Democratic Congress candidate.

Whether the PF made Mr Kambwili or Mr Kambwili made the PF in Roan Constituency only the electorate can answer that 

What happened then in Bahati constituency in the 2016 parliamentary election?

Like in the case of the Roan Parliamentary election, the PF through Mr Kalaba bagged Bahati with a landslide.

He polled 18, 166 votes while UPND’s Antony Makuwa polled 4, 056 votes. 

But the dynamics have changed in Roan and Bahati Constituencies.

Mr Kambwili is not standing in the Roan by-election under the PF but has fielded a proxy under the NDC in 39-year-old Joseph Chishala.

While on paper the PF can write off Mr Chishala as a political nonentity, they should be wary of the political monster guiding him in Roan.

Having undergone three general elections from 2006, Mr Kambwili cannot be described in the terms of a paper tiger.
Roan Constituency is his home and political battle ground even if the PF were the party behind him.

Those who remember Mr Kambwili campaigning for President Edgar Lungu in 2016 on the Copperbelt and Luapula have a story to tell.

With the UPND opting out of Roan to back Mr Kambwili’s NDC candidate, the campaigns may just turn out to be ones to follow, if violence is managed of course. 

But no-one should rule out the surprise package of the United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia (UPPZ) and the People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) in the Roan by-election.

The UPPZ is fielding Morgan Banda while the PAC has Joel Chibuye in the race.

In politics, it is wrong for any democrat to claim the exclusive right to a constituency when the vote is secret.

Either the UPPZ or the PAC might just spring a surprise and change the complexion of Parliament.

Imagine in a country which boasts of over 30 registered voters, only four are represented in the August house through PF, UPND, MMD and FDD. The others in the house are 14 Independents.

But what are the dynamics in the Bahati parliamentary by-election?

Like Mr Kambwili, Mr Kalaba is equally not standing. In fact, his party, the Democratic Party is also not fielding anybody.

Again, it would wrong to assume that Mr Kalaba was a non-factor in the PF and the ruling party solely took him to the National Assembly.

Surely, Mr Kalaba must have friends and relatives who are disillusioned over how his departure from the PF has come about and may vote against the ruling party.

If this happened in Bahati, then again Parliament will never be the same. 

While the UPND which is fielding Justine Bwalya will celebrate entering Luapula Province for the first since the party was formed in 1998, the UPPZ will toast contributing the first parliamentarian in the house. This will equally be the feeling of PAC which is fielding Isaac Lukwesa.

A win for Emmanuel Chanshi of the FDD will elate the party because having two members in Parliament adds another voice than the present status of one in Chienge Member of Parliament Given Katuta.

The current National Assembly has a total of 166 members with 156 of whom are directly elected in single-member constituencies using the first-past-the-post system. 
Nine additional seats are filled through presidential appointment.

If it becomes a walk in the park for the PF in Roan and Bahati, then count the ruling party remain its two seats.

While the PF will probably be celebrating Mr Kambwili’s extinction, Mr Kalaba will be on the radar for lack of being tested in the Bahati parliamentary by-election.

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