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ONE of the mayoral aspirants in Kitwe, Ashani Jayawardane, has pulled out of the race a few hours before nominations.

Ms Jayawardane said she was withdrawing from the race to concentrate on improving the welfare of the people in the community through her foundation.

She had formed a foundation called Ashani Jaya Community Foundation which she would utilise to help vulnerable communities.

Ms Jayawardane had initially applied to be considered for adoption on the Patriotic Front (PF) ticket but was left out as the party settled for former Itimpi Ward Councillor Mpasa Mwaya. Ms Jayawardane who was scheduled to file in her nomination papers yesterday at 11:00 hours at the Kitwe Civic Centre, said in an interview that she had decided to pull out of the race to concentrate on her foundation with the aim of improving the living standards of the people.

“I wish to finally inform Kitwe residents that after consultations with my political consultants, friends and family, I was advised to continue supporting President Edgar Lungu and not to go independent.

“I therefore have withdrawn my intentions to stand as Kitwe Mayor as an independent,” she added.

She said it was gratifying to see overwhelming response from her supporters who advised her to contest as an independent as well as political parties approaching her to consider joining their political parties.

She however said that she had opted to remain committed to supporting the PF and its agenda.

Ms Jayawardane added that she had much regard for President Lungu and that she wanted to honour her parents and continue to work with him and the PF.

 Remaining in the race are PF’s Mpasa Mwaya, UPND’ Grace Sampa, Socialist Party’s Juliet Chileshe and DP’s Samuel Chikopela.

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