The United Party for National Development (UPND) was by last night leading by more than 2000 votes as counting was coming to close with no more than seven poling stations remaining for the count.
By press time, the UPND had polled 4,095 votes with the Patriotic Front (PF) trailing with 2058 votes from all the poling stations and reports from Katuba were that the ruling party cadres had left the consituency after sensing defeat.
Shockingly the MMD was trailing at a third with a paultry 464 votes with the National Restoration Party (NAREP) on the fourth position with 382 while Alliance for a Better Zambia came fourth with 177 votes.
The National Revolution Party was at the tail end with 31 votes as UNIP, Zambia’s first ruling party polled 68 votes.
UPND deputy general secretary Kuchinga Simusamba told the Daily Nation last evening that the UPND was headed for a landslide victory and warned that the writing was on the wall for the ruling party because Zambians had made up their mind to correct the mistake they made in 2011 when they voted for the PF.
And violence and gunfire erupted yesterday during the Katuba Constituency by-election after armed cadres started beating opposition political party cadres.
Thugs believed being in the company of a minister attacked UPND cadres at Kapila, Shifwankula and Kabangwe polling stations before abducting two UPND officials.
Police officers deployed in the area, Operations Young Vote and opposition leaders confirmed the violence and the use of guns by PF cadres.
Political party officials from UPND, National Restoration Party (NAREP) and the Civil Society Organization have confirmed the violence and the use of guns and machetes by PF cadres in the just ended by-election.
UPND campaign manager Request Muntanga said that the cadres who were in the company of a minister started firing gun shots at Kalala Polling station before two UPND officials were abducted.
Muntanga said that the cadres were instigated to use live bullets at Kapila, Shifwankula and Kabangwe polling stations by a named minister who had been causing havoc since yesterday morning.
He said that mid afternoon it became difficult for police to intervene and maintain peace and order as the cadres threatened officers with dismissals.
And OYV executive director Guess Nyirenda said that police were at pain stopping the unruly cadres who were firing guns and beating up people.
Nyirenda said that armed thug with guns and machetes were seen in Katuba Constituency late afternoon in five batches being ferried in unregistered Fuso Canter light trucks.
“There is too much violence today (yesterday). They are beating anyone they find especially those suspected to be UPND,” said Nyirenda.
And NAREP national secretary reverend Jevan Kamanga also said that his party was disappointed at the conduct of the PF thugs who were attacking UPND members.
Kamanga explained that the violence started with vote buying by PF cadres who were dishing out money to unsuspecting electorates.
He said that some named ministers camped in Katuba Constituency promulgated violence by asking the members to use guns on the opposition.
And Police also confirmed that three Fuso Canter Light trucks were impounded while ferrying armed cadres.
“So far we have impounded three trucks out of the five that were seen in the area ferrying cadres armed with all sorts of weapons and we have taken the vehicles to Kabangwe police post. We complained to the minister about the firing of gunshots in the air by the cadres but the minister trashed us. He said that Katuba elections are about life and death,” said one of the senior police officers.
The officer complained that some named ministers had also directed a named PF councilor from Matero Constituency to abduct two of the UPND officials who were still at-large, “And we have already informed our colleagues at Matero Police station to go and check for Charles Mweemba and Rose Chipola who were abducted in the morning.”
Earlier Sikazwe allegedly instructed police officers in Katuba Constituency to arrest daughter of UPND aspiring candidate Jonas Shakafuswa, Louise.
Sikazwe who had gone to Kabangwe polling station as early as 06:00 hours in the company of PF cadres got incensed when he found that the daughter to Shakafuswa indentified as Louise was among the poling agents.
Sikazwe then comforted her and accused her of distributing cash to the electorates and directed PF cadres to search her hand bag before ordering police to arrest her.
The PF cadres grabbed her hand bag with the hope of finding money but found nothing.
The cadres later grabbed her voters’ card and the National Registration Card before police officers whisked her away for safety.
Sikazwe was later head saying that they would not allow the UPND to take the Katuba seat.
“Elyo imwe Ba Mooya kuti na mipuma tamwakwata mano, this is not Tonga land where you do things the way you feel like. This is Katuba and as PF we shall not allow Tonga ideas here. Tatuli Ng’ombe ifwe.”