Panic has gripped the PF camp in the forthcoming by-election and the party’s central committee has resolved to send the entire party machinery and state resources to ensure that the party’s candidate Gabriel Namulambe wins the polls that fall on Thursday this week.
A source from the party secretariat told the Zambian watchdog that an emergency election meeting was convened on Friday for the party to strategise on the Mpongwe and Livingstone elections and resolved that they must at least win the Mpongwe seat.
Following the resolution ceremonial vice president Guy Scott was tasked to again go back to Mpongwe and lead an advance party on Saturday to assess the mood of the people, visit chiefs and undo whatever damage HH is believed to have done during his one week stay in the area.
This was to lay ground for President Sata who is expected in Mpongwe for a rally on Sunday against his medical advice not to engage in strenuous campaigns.
Scott is expected to take gifts to chiefs and the electorate but residents say the gimmick may not work as HH left them with the ‘donchi kubeba’ philosophy so they will take money and any food but not vote for Namulambe.
“Guy Scott has been detailed to go and undo what HH has done, the guy (HH) is believed to have done a lot of damage in Mpongwe especially in the remote areas but since the President cannot go everywhere, that is why Scott was tasked to leave earlier, so it is full party and state machinery in force mwana,” said the party source.
Sources say initially PF underrated the UPND popularity in the area and wanted to concentrate on Livingstone, but it has turned out that Mpongwe is even more difficult for Namulambe to win under PF because UPND’s Rapson Chilufya is surging ahead in popularity.
The ruling party is now in serious panic as they risk losing both seats to the opposition UPND in both areas, something that will send a wrong signal of vote of no confidence to the ruling party.
“It’s like the president was cheated on Namulambe’s popularity in the area when he was resigning and yet Mpongwe people wanted him out even when he stood under then ruling MMD in 2011,” sources said.
President Sata defied medical advice and is in Mpongwe on Sunday amid tight police presence led by copperbelt police commissioner Mary Tembo.
A convoy of police and government vehicles with hidden number plates have been dispatched to Mpongwe ahead of the heavily contested elections.