Due to poor health, the campaign programme for PF candidate Edgar Lungu has been severely relaxed, even further.
Medical records seen by the Watchdog (but withheld just for now) show that Lungu has advanced, numeral ailments and one private clinical has recommended that he should go to India for specialist treatment.
Though the PF would have loved to take Lungu across the country (and they have the capacity) within few days, Lungu has been unwilling and giving different excuses for his inertia. But people very close to his team have now disclosed that the main problem is poor health. The current by-election is due to the death of president Michael Sata, whom the PF swore was as fit as teen upto the day he died. The Watchdog first revealed that Sata was not fit when he collapsed during a campaign trail in Mongu in 2011. The PF refuted the revelation and maintained the cover up and even at his burial, the PF could not say exactly what killed the president.
Now the PF have picked another patient and the cover up resumes.
At first, the PF were using the excuse that there were court cases in court so Lungu could not campaign seriously.
But from the time Lungu filed in his nominations, he has only held three rallies in Kabwe, Kasama and Luwingu. He can only manage one rally each day.
But his main challenger, UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema has held 12 rallies in the same period, sometimes holding three rallies in a day. From the time of nominations, Hichilema has held rallies in Kitwe, Ndola, Mufulira, Chililabombwe, Luanshya, Kalulushi, Mpogwe and Masaiti.
The latest plan by the PF is now to send lone MPs in their areas to campaign for Lungu. Some such as harry Kalaba have already gone but are spreading bizarre messages to the people since they really have nothing to tell peasant farmers, unemployed youths, retirees and young people who can’t afford school fees. There is no dual carriageway in Bahati but food and transport is very expensive and farmers have not been paid.
The main problem tough is that Lungu is virtual unknown in most rural and peri-urban areas so it will be very difficulty for people to believe MPs. The ideal scenario would have been for Lungu to crisscross the country not just to explain his vision but so that voters can know who the vision bearer is. But as things stand, Lungu’s health does not allow him and he will be restricted to towns where there are hospitals nearby or in villages close to highways.
Other information received indicates that Lungu is still learning Nsenga to enable him go to Eastern province and campaign.