By Mercy Chewe
Friday’s Kabushi Parliamentary by-election Independent candidate Richard Kalasa has declared that he is providing alternative leadership to that of immediate past area member of Parliament Bowman Lusambo
Mr. Kalasa is contesting the by-election against Bernard Kanengo of the ruling UPND, Osias Telela of the Leadership Movement and another independent candidate Alfred Joseph Yombwe.
The former Ndola Deputy Mayor said it was clear that Mr. Lusambo has been deliberately barred from re-contesting the seat.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia refused to accept nominations from Mr. Lusambo accusing him of causing the by-election – a matter the former Lusaka Province Minister challenged in court.
Mr. Kalasa said without Mr. Lusambo in the race he is best candidate for the Kabushi Parliamentary Seat owing to his vast experience in politics.
Speaking to reporters in Ndola, Mr. Kalasa promised to facilitate road construction, street lighting, water supply and renovation of Musa Kasonka Stadium if elected Kabushi MP.
“As a candidate in the Kabushi Parliamentary by-election I have no option but to go ahead and contest the election. I am just on the ground talking to the people of Kabushi Constituency. As you know I am a well-known person in Kabushi and people know me from my days as a Patriotic Front (PF) member, former Ndola Deputy Mayor and former Kanini Ward Councilor. Initially I applied to contest the Kabushi Seat on the PF ticket but I was not adopted. So, I decided to stand as an independent candidate. People of Kabushi, I am one of you. I grew up here in Kabushi. I did my secondary school at Lubuto. I have resolved that since my brother Bowman Lusambo is being prevented from taking part in the by elections I come in as an alternative for the people of Kabushi. Bowman Lusambo had done a lot for Kabushi Constituency and has made a huge impact such that the people of Kabushi cannot forsake or forget him. I am here to pick up where Bowman Lusambo left,” Mr. Kalasa said.
“I want to facilitate road construction, street lighting and water supply. These are the major things the people of Kabushi want. So, to the people of Kabushi I am your son seeking a vote. When you trust me and give me the Kabushi Parliamentary Seat I will try by all means to work for you so that we can develop our Constituency,” he said.
Mr. Kalasa also bemoaned what he termed as lack of a level playing field in the run up to the controversial by-election.
“Especially for me as an independent candidate who is sponsoring myself, the campaign period is too short to campaign meaningfully. We expected to campaign for at least two months so that the people of Kabushi get our message and know us better. People have been denied a chance to get campaign messages from candidates. I am complaining that the time given to us to campaign is too short,” Mr. Kalasa said.
He urged voters in Kabushi to critically analyse candidates contesting the Kabushi Parliamentary Seat.
“I was a Councilor in Kanini Ward and showed my prowess. I showed what I am able to do when given a chance to lead. I built a clinic and constructed a number of bridges. I was deputy mayor so my candidature in Kabushi is not fluke. I know people’s needs. People should analyse candidates and see who can deliver for the people. Some people just fight for positions which they cannot match when elected. Such people end up running away from the people who elected them. I sat in the council chamber and I know people’s needs in these communities. People should not in any way doubt me. I am bringing trusted and mature leadership. If the people of Kabushi gave me a chance to be their servant I will deliver development,” he said.
Mr. Kalasa added that developmental activities in Kabushi are on hold due to the lack of a Member of Parliament.
“There cannot be development in Kabushi without a member of Parliament. Development in Kabushi has come to a standstill because there is no Member of Parliament. Kabushi Constituency is lagging behind when it comes to development. The Constituency is idle because there is no one to speak for the people of Kabushi Constituency. So, this is the right time for the people to analyse and choose a capable leader to represent them well like Bowman Lusambo used to do. Bowman did a good job in Kabushi. Look at the new market at Masala; it is Bowman Lusambo who did that. Look at some road projects he started. Had he been in office Bowman would have concluded the road projects in Kabushi. People of Kabushi give me a chance to serve you. I am a trustworthy leader. We need to make Kabushi a community anyone can desire to live in. Vote for Richard Kalasa, an independent candidate and my symbol is a Rosa bus,” Mr. Kalasa said.