WITH the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) still searching for a Presidential candidate following the death of President Michael Sata, opposition political parties have declared their readiness to contest the forthcoming Presidential by-election.
Those who announced yesterday include Forum for Democratic Alternatives (FDA) party president Ludwig Sondashi and National Restoration Party (NAREP) Elias Chipimo.
Others who announced on Tuesday are Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) president Edith Nawakwi and United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema.
In announcing his candidature, Mr Chipimo said: “I am pleased to present myself as a candidate to be sponsored by NAREP in the presidential election that will be held following the death of Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata.”
Mr Chipimo said it was not easy for NAREP to have come up with such a decision, adding it had been taken after careful prayer, reflection and wide consultation.
“It is a decision that understands the complications of our fractured politics and does not close the door to initiatives that would meet the wishes and aspirations of the Zambian people for an outcome that preserves our peace, conserves our resources and unites our common purpose,” he said.
Mr Chipimo called upon Zambians who wanted to see the country revived to join NAREP in the campaigns.
He said if elected into office NAREP would deliver a people-driven Constitution which had been promised to Zambians for so long by PF.
Dr Sondashi said he accepted the committee’s decision after taking into account that Zambia had the potential to economically, politically and socially develop.
He observed that Zambia had been economically performing poorly due to lack of quality leadership in all the successive governments.
“This has contributed to undermine democracy and development in our country. Because all the five former Presidents did nothing to ensure that they reduced their excessive presidential powers,” he said.
Dr Sondashi said it never occurred to the past leaders that it was excessive presidential powers which had undermined rapid development and progress in Zambia. He said the past leaders had been using the powers to strengthen their positions instead of delivering the services to Zambia.
“When elected, I pledge to adopt the recently released draft constitution.”