Friday, 12 September 2008
CAMPAIGN TRAILS TAKE OFF
Mr Banda bidding fareweel to some of the cabinet ministers before leaving for Chililabombwe at the weekend.
CAMPAIGN trails for the Presidential election slated for October 30, 200 have started here.
This week, we expect a lot of chriss-crossing while the press and airwaves will be filled with political jingles. Already, some billboards around Lusaka are being changed to replace the commercial messages with effective portraits of presidential aspirants.
The participating political parties are today expected to officially unveil their campaign programmes. But from the look of things, the political engineers are already chriss-crossing and spreading their manifestoes.
The MMD's Rupiah Banda was on the Copperbelt at an international match between Zambia and Togo at the weekend. I have known Mr Banda to be an avid soccer fan. But some people viewed his attendance as a political gymnastic to advance his political wishes.
Today, Mr Banda has traveled to eastern province where he will officiate at a traditional ceremony called Kulamba. He will later have meetings with Paramount chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people. He will also meet senior chief Nzamane who had a bereavement recently.
Mr Banda is also expected to hold a political rally after these events.
Next week, the acting President will fly to Northern province for a three-day visit where he is expected at the Ukusefya Pangwena traditional ceremony.
He is expected to meet with the traditional leaders, MMD officials and hold a public rally. Effectively, I can say that the MMD campaign trails are spiraling.
Mr Banda is expected to garner a lot of votes from the eastern province because of reasons such as the fact that it is where he hails from and those people have been longing for one of their own to rise to heights Mr Banda is pursuing.
But critics such as Transparency Zambia president Reuben Lifuka say the MMD has an overall advantage over their opponents because of public resources at their disposal. For instance, the acting President has the audacity to fly to any part of the country on using government resources while the opposite is correct for the challengers who have traverse the rough terrains especially of the remote areas.
On the other hand, Patrotic Front held their first political rally in Kafue, which is about 45 kilometres from the capital Lusaka. Party president Micheal Sata and other officials make speeches, trying to woo voters from that area.
Kafue is targeted by politicians who are trying to take advantage of the economic turbulence that rocked the district.
For instance, there have been disturbances at the fertiliser making plant called Kafue Nitrogen Chemicals where scores of workers have been protesting against delayed pay.
There are also scores of retrenchees who are still chasing their terminal benefits from the government and I am sure it is along these lines that the PF team want to strike the iron while it is still hot.
The PF have also continued with public address systems mounted on their pick-up vehicles churning out political lyrics along major roads and Townships in Lusaka.
Mr Sata looks forward to sweeping the votes in Lusaka, Copperbelt, Northern and Luapula but he suffer an imbroglio because he is not at par with 26 Members of Parliament (MPs) whom he has asked not participate in the campaigns because they disregarded his directives over the participation in the National Constitutional Conference. Mr Sata calls these MPs 'rebel MPs'.
But I have not really heard or seen any campaign activity from the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) apart from press interviews that they are participating in the election.
I am quite sure that something is going to come up because the leadership in that party may be using other tactics such as door-to-door campaigns.
The UPND is expected to offer a formidable challenge in the Southern province, which is considered its stronghold.