United Party for National Development (UPND) in Southern Province is concerned with the early campaigns being conducted by some individuals who wish to contest parliamentary and local government seats on the party’s ticket ahead of the August 11, 2016 general elections.
UPND provincial secretary Winnerson Ng’uni has observed that while the party recognizes the democratic right of such individuals to aspire as members of Parliament and councillors, the party found it illogical to allow members to begin campaigning before the stipulated time.
In an interview with the Daily Nation in Livingstone, Mr. Ng’uni noted that aspiring candidates have the duty to respect sitting MPs and councillors until such a time when the party will announce.
He said that the party in the province has noticed that there have been a lot of campaign materials that were exchanging hands nearly in all constituencies in the province bearing the names of aspiring candidates, the situation the provincial secretary said was disturbing.
“It is illogical for anyone to print campaign materials like T-shirts, posters, business cards and start distributing these materials in constituencies where we have sitting members of Parliament and councillors.
“This act is against our party electoral rules and individuals involved risk being disqualified because these aspiring candidates have the duty to respect sitting MPs and councillors until such a time when the party will announce,” he said.
Mr. Ng’uni said the party has noticed that some aspiring candidates have also gone ahead to feature on community and commercial radio stations and also in newspapers, stating their agendas with comparisons to sitting MPs and councillors, accusing them of having failed.
He said that this behaviour is likely to bring division in the party ahead of the general elections and it is also de-campaigning the party in one way or another.
“It is like those wishing to stand on the party’s ticket are de-campaigning the party by stating their agendas with comparisons to those occupying the seats, saying that they will do what sitting MPs
and councillors have not done.
‘‘For example some of them are saying they will bring tarmac to the area, build hospitals and many other promises.
This is not right; these aspiring candidates should be truthful.
“As a party, we are listening and seeing these remarks in both electronic and print media. Unfortunately such individuals do not realize that those remarks are not helping the party in bringing people together,” he said.
“I therefore remind individuals wishing to stand in this year’s tripartite election that the party does not allow members with this agenda to campaign in constituencies where we have sitting MPs and councillors before dissolution of Parliament. As a party, we advise those people (aspiring candidates) to hold their fire and be patient,”
said Mr. Ng’uni.