World Bulletin/News Desk
As Zambia announced the names of the candidates contesting its upcoming presidential poll, the hopefuls themselves sounded confident in their chances of winning top office, saying they had the solution to the country's chronic woes.
"The people will not make a mistake when they elect me president on January 20," incumbent Justice and Defense Minister Edger Lungu told The Anadolu Agency.
"I'm here to complete the work left behind by departed President Michael Chilufya Sata, who they elected three years ago," he said.
Lungu, the secretary-general of the ruling Patriotic Front, was named Tuesday by Zambia's Electoral Commission as one of the 11 candidates to have successfully filed their candidacy applications for the upcoming poll.
"Out of the 19 political parties that had expressed interest to contest the January 20 presidential by-election, only 11 candidates have successfully filed their nomination papers," commission chairperson Irene Mambilima told a press conference.
"Eight withdrew from the race after failing to meet the required conditions, including financial challenges," she said.
Zambians will go to the polls on January 20 to elect a new president after President Sata died in a London hospital in late October.
Over four million voters – out of Zambia's 13-million-strong population – will be eligible to cast ballots.
Hakinde Hichilema, meanwhile, the candidate for the United Party for National Development, pledged to deliver a new constitution that would address the concerns of everyday Zambians.
"This is now a non-negotiable campaign commitment for us," Hichilema told AA in an interview. "I am the only candidate with an imperious leadership track record and pedigree to lead Zambia to greater heights."
He added: "When elected president, I will develop this country by ensuring that resources are equitably distributed and providing an enabling and conducive business environment."
Presidential candidate Edith Nawakwi, for her part, said her Forum for Democracy and Development party had the solution to Zambia's social, political and economic problems.
"Today marks a turning point in our country's history," she told AA. "It feels great that our nomination paper has been accepted – this is an indication that we're in this election to win."
"Fifty years from now, people should look forward to a Zambia in which mothers will wake up and know that their children have a government as a partner in their welfare," said Nawakwi.
Elias Chipimo, candidate for the National Restoration Party, is equally confident regarding his ability to win the upcoming race.
"Once in power, my government shall offer economic freedom to Zambians," he said in an interview with AA. "In order to do so, we shall work on good governance, which is an essential part of economic growth and development."
He added: "Good governance cannot be sidelined; it should not be subject to political manipulation by one party or another."
Nevers Sekwila Mumba, the president of and candidate for the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, warned voters against leaders who had no regard for good governance.
"Zambia is where it is today because of bad governance," he told AA. "Once elected to office, I will work on improving good governance in the country."
He went on to assert that delivering a "people-driven" constitution would be his government's utmost priority.
On October 25, one day after the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence from Britain, the government issued a long-awaited draft constitution.
The government wants the new charter to be endorsed by Zambia's new parliament, while most political parties, trade unions, NGOs and religious leaders want the document brought before a public referendum.
In the run-up to 2011 presidential polls, Sata had promised that his government would deliver a "people-driven" constitution within 90 days of his assuming office.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Aralık 2014, 11:09