The National Restoration Party (NAREP) campaign trail in the Feira parliamentary by-election yesterday was a snag after the opposition political party failed to hold its planned rallies in the constituency when the only filling station in Luangwa district refused to refill their vehicles under the guise that there was no fuel in the district.
The failure to hold rallies was compounded by the sudden change of mind by the local transporters who had been hired to transport the prospective voters to the venue where the public meeting was supposed to be held.
NAREP national chairman Joseph Mushalika complained that there seemed to have been a conspiracy between the state and the filing station in Luangwa to deliberately frustrate the campaigns by the opposition political party.
Mr Mushalika wondered how the lack of fuel in the area had only come at the time when his party had arrived in the constituency to conduct their campaigns.
Mr Mushalika told the Daily Nation that it was unfortunate that even after the party had made prior arrangements with local transporters, the owners decided to change their mind to be hired for the agreed assignment.
He said his party was suspicious that the ruling party had extensively intimidated the people who could have provided transportation for their members and could have instructed the filling station not to fuel their vehicles.
Mr Mushalika said what was even more worrying was that even Zesco had cut power to the district making it impossible for the party to use the public address system.
He said the campaigns for his party in Feira had been paralyzed because there were no basic necessities such as fuel and electricity apart from the sudden change of mind by the local transporters not to ferry their members to campaign venues.This is not good for fair and free elections and the government must know this,” Mr Mushalika said.
He stated that there was no doubt that there was somebody responsible for the frustration his party had been subjected to saying the ruling party was beginning to feel the growing popularity of his political party.