January 20, 2004

Opposition councillors boycott mayoral elections in Ndola

Opposition councillors in Ndola have boycotted mayoral elections in which current mayor Hamson Chisenga and his deputy Chanda Mushota have sailed through unopposed since both were the only ones who successfully filed in their nominations at the deadline. The candidates from the ruling MMD (Movement for Multiparty) are expected to be declared winners. On the boycott, Heritage Party (HP) opposition councillors said the 13 opposition councillors were not happy with the manner in which the elections were conducted. One councillor said the MMD had earlier held a meeting and decided to bar everyone from the ruling party from challenging the incumbent.

One of those that had intended to challenge Mr Chisenga, Zinho Latiff of MMD, was forced to withdraw from the race. "He was ready for the election and a lot of people were willing to vote for him, but he withdrew afterwards," one councillor said. He said since there were other people that had intended to challenge Mr Chisenga, but who were barred, the voting was intended to be on party lines and the opposition could not be part of the undemocratic process.

Ndola City Council comprises 13 MMD, 11 Heritage Party (HP), two Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) and one United Party for National Development (UPND) councillors. The opposition bemoaned the tendency to bar other eligible people from contesting saying it was a clear sign of hand-picking the office bearers. (The Times of Zambia, Ndola)

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