SINAZONGWE Member of Parliament Richwel Siamunene is able to retain his parliamentary seat on the ruling Patriotic Front ticket because his popularity is not based on the UPND, a youth activist in Sinazongwe district has said.
Sydney Mweemba said reports suggesting that Mr Siamunene would lose his parliamentary seat should he stand on another party ticket other than UPND were false.
He was reacting to remarks by UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma that Mr Siamunene, who is Minister of Defence, would be cheating himself to think that he could be re-elected in Sinazongwe if he stood on the ruling party ticket in the 2016 elections.
Mr Mweemba said it was not about the party that the people of Sinazongwe were looking for but development that had benefitted them.
He said the people of Zambia should turn away from the trend of voting for a candidate based on a party, but that development projects should be supported by all.
But a local farmer, Mr George Bbabbi, said it was tricky for the Defence minister to retain his seat because the voting system in Zambia was based on regional popularity of that particular party.
“If Mr Siamunene will not be adopted by the opposition UPND in Sinazongwe the chances of him retaining his seat will be slight because people have parties and choices of their own based on regions.
‘‘Just like it is that Southern Provinces is dominated by the Tonga-speaking people, so do Luapula and Northern provinces where they believe in PF; it is really a bit tricky,” he said.
Mr Bbabbi said the people of Sinazongwe had trust in the UPND just like the people of Northern Province believed in PF, saying such sentiments worked to the advantage of some candidates.
He said it was unfortunate that some sections in society have labeled Tongas as tribalists, when all the political parties had areas where they were popular.
Mr Bbabbi was reacting to Mr Siamunene’s comment that he was willing to stand on the Patriotic Front ticket in Sinazongwe if adopted by the PF.