On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, the Courts nullified the election of MMD area Member of Parliament Rueben Mtolo Phiri in 2011 tripartite polls.
The nullification follows the petition by former Home Affairs minister Lameck Mangani who contested the seat on Patriotic Front (PF) in 2011. Before that Mangani was the MP for the same seat.
Just the same day the nullification was announced, Yusuf Hanif Badat, a Chipata based businessman met with PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba and gave him Kr300, 000 as gratification for adoption. Badat is one of the richest businessmen in Chipata.
The Asian community in Chipata is said to be rallying financial support to back Badat so that their business interests can be protected under PF. Like most businessmen of foreign origin elsewhere in Zambia, Asian businessmen in Chipata are facing intimidation by the government. The businessmen are coerced to donate to the party and senior party officials or have their businesses grabbed or face deportation. The Asian community in Chipata has no choice but to pump money in the PF and give to individuals like Kabimba.
The PF is not even considering Lameck Mangani as a potential candidate. Sources in PF say Mangani adds no value to the PF, is broke and can lose the seat if adopted.
The other person the PF is trying to convince to stand on its ticket is Meanwood properties executive chairperson Robinson Zulu.
But people close to Mr Zulu say he is apolitical and not interested.
The MMD will readopt Rueben Mtolo Phiri while the UPND is still consulting but the Watchdog has heard that former Finance Bank spokesperson Noel Nkhoma could be the UPND candidate.