Zambia's ruling party wins three by-elections

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- Zambia's ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) has won all three by-elections held in rural constituencies Tuesday, according to official results released Thursday.
The constituencies included Mwinilunga East, previously held by opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), but which became open for contest after its MP, James Katoka, switched to the ruling party.
Katoka retained his seat with 3,824 votes Tuesday with his closest rival polling 1,637 votes.
The second seat at Mulobezi became an open race after the Supreme Court nullified former Defence Minister, Michael Mabenga's election of 2001.
Mabenga lost his ministerial job over the case.
Another MMD candidate, Mwiya Wanyambe, won the by-election Tuesday with 1,752 votes.
The ruling party's candidate, Bwalya Chiti, also emerged victorious at the Mpika constituency, after beating all comers by polling 3,975 votes.
Like in Mulobezi, the Mpika seat had fallen vacant after the Lusaka High Court nullified the election of Mwaba Mateyo (MMD) after finding his party guilty of vote rigging in 2001.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has described his party's victory in the three by-elections as a sign that people supported his campaign to foster development in the country.
"I feel very ticklish about the results.
I am a very happy man.
We need to develop.
We are not going to develop if we insult others," he added.
The wins, coupled with the appointment of opposition legislators to government positions, have effectively given Mwanawasa a firm majority in parliament, unlike when he started his five-year term some two years ago.

20 november 2003 09:18:00

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