By JOHN KOMBE
CONTESTING an election as an independent candidate is not defiance as is being perceived, an independent mayoral candidate in Chongwe has said.
Former Chongwe PF constituency vice chairperson, Oscar Kaleya made the observation in an interview yesterday.
Mr Kaleya said that Zambia was a democratic state which welcomed the inclusion of independent representatives and as such they must be accepted.
He observed that the August 12 general elections had an unprecedented number of independent candidates because of compromised adoption processes in political parties.
Mr Kaleya urged political parties to embrace the reality as it was that going independent was not a breach of the constitution.
He stressed that he had wanted to contest on the Patriotic Front ticket, but was left out.
Mr Kaleya said that his decision was not out of bitterness, but conviction. He was therefore confident that he would deliver to the expectation of the electorate once elected into office.
He also said that the pronouncement by the PF that it would welcome independents who would support the candidature of President Edgar Lungu was a welcome move.
Mr Kaleya pointed out that this must be emulated by other political parties because independents were part of the country’s political environment.
He promised to canvass votes for President Lungu once the party makes the pronouncement very clear to all, including the PF membership.
He said that it was time for people to put aside their differences and rally behind a candidate that would deliver development across the country.
Mr. Kaleya disclosed that he had started distributing PF regalia as part of his campaign tool and had not received any resistance from the PF so far.
He said that as an independent he had the right to support any presidential candidate because there can only be one preferred presidential candidate at a time.
He cited the 2011 elections in which some MMD candidates were shocked to see Rupiah Banda lose to Micheal Sata.
He urged the PF to be more concerned about the Presidential race rather than shooting down independents.