World Bulletin/News Desk
Five opposition parties have vowed to challenge the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) in Zambia's upcoming presidential election following the death of president Michael Sata.
"The PF will have to choose its presidential candidate from among its members of parliament [who] the late president considered useless," Edith Nawakwi, head of the opposition Forum for Democracy, told The Anadolu Agency.
"The president did not mince his words when he called his MPs 'useless,' because they are a useless lot," she added.
According to Nawakwi, Sata had described his party's current crop of MPs as "useless," accusing them of having contributed to the PF's failure to deliver on its electoral promises.
"The people of Zambia would rather vote for me than go for a useless MP who the ruling party wants to field for the presidency," she added.
Nawakwi, a former finance minister, believes she stands the best chance of winning the poll.
"And as such, I urge all voters to scrutinize all candidates who will contest the presidential by-election and choose a leader who will drive the aspirations of the country to greater heights – and that leader happens to be Nawakwi," she said.
Similarly, Hakainde Hichilema, president of the opposition United Party for National Development, said he, too, was ready to contest the presidency.
"We were ready for the election yesterday. All we are waiting for now is an official announcement of the commencement of public [electoral] campaigns," he told The Anadolu Agency.
Hichilema, however, voiced concern that "certain people" might not accept defeat, calling on his followers to "expect "anything."
"Politics is just a competition to serve and, as in any competition, there will be winners and losers. I therefore urge all political party leaders to adhere to the rules... It is only this way that Zambia can avoid anarchy," he asserted.
Sata passed away last month in a London hospital. Under Zambian electoral laws, elections for the vacant presidency must be held within a 90-day period.
Nevers Mumba of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) said the ruling party had lost 2011 polls because its leadership had embraced "alien political cultures," which had seen certain vices – like corruption – creep into the party.
"During the time of rebranding our party, we reintroduced a culture of service in politics... People are happy with the new MMD because it is here to serve rather than be served," he said.
Other political parties taking part in the upcoming election include the National Restoration Party, headed by a prominent Zambian lawyer, and the Forum for a Democratic Alternative.
Although the PF is taking part in the ballot, it is yet to elect a candidate.
Analysts, however, have cast doubts on the ability of opposition parties to usurp power from the ruling PF.
Macdonald Chipenzi, executive director of the Foundation for Democratic Process, said that the PF – despite internecine succession battles and infighting – was still likely to win, as the opposition remained badly fragmented.
"In these circumstances, the best thing the opposition political parties can do – if they are to win the forthcoming presidential by-election – is to unite behind a single candidate," Chipenzi said.
"It's not too late," he added. "The opposition can still decide to form a united front and win the elections."Last Mod: 26 Kasım 2014, 11:47