This Thursday will see council and ward level by-elections in Northern, Central and Muchinga provinces.
The PF and the UPND are the only political parties to field candidates for all positions and these will be the first by-elections since the release of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from prison.
The elections and candidates are as follows:
Council Chairperson in Lunte, Northern Province: Simon Chanda (PF), Lazarous Chongo (UPND) and George Chikwanda (Independent).
Council Chairperson in Lavushimanda, Muchinga Province: Mupenda Mwelwa (UPND) and Humphery Katemba (PF).
Council Chairperson in Kanchibiya, Muchinga Province: Chipalo Mwansa (PF) Kanjela Silvario (UPND).
Council Chairperson in Itezhi Tezhi, Central Province: Kaingu Namakau (PF), Stephen Shaloba (UPND), Shilupezi Irene (PNU) and Oliver Sitengu (Independent).
By-elections will also be held in eight wards as follows: Chililalila, Chitwi, Luansobe, Luntomfwe, Libonda, Mpidi Kakonga, Chimanja and Mabinga.
Ahead of the polls UPND President Hakainde Hichilema appealed for peaceful campaigns, releasing the following statement:
“We wish to use this opportunity to encourage our members across the country in areas where there are by -elections to campaign responsibly even amidst violent provocation from the opponent.
We are aware that some of you are being maimed and attacked during campaigns, but we ask you not to pay back with violence because if you do so, then innocent people will not see the difference between us and those violent people.”
Parliamentary by-elections may yet follow in seats where sitting MPs have had their seats nullified by the High Court pending appeal. Ministers at risk include Minister of Commerce Margaret Mwanakatwe and Minister of Higher Education Nkandu Luo.