Zambia: Political Parties Campaign Online For September 20 Polls

Less than two weeks before Zambia goes to the polls on September 20, 2011, political parties have taken their campaigns beyond what has been the traditional methods of using posters, TV adverts and radio jingles to a totally new platform—the worldwide web.

Six of the ten parties that are fielding presidential candidates are running websites in an effort to reach out to the nearly 817,000 registered Internet users with 137,000 on Facebook.

One of the parties, Alliance for Development and Democracy (ADD), explains why it was formed:

Despite Zambia being endowed with many minerals and probably oil and having such great potential in both tourism and agriculture, Zambia still remains poor with the vast majority of its people wallowing in abject poverty. This group of people came together with the realization that something had to be done.

The website includes a campaign section for the ADD presidential candidate, Charles Milupi.

The ruling MMD has also put up a colourful website for its party and presidential candidate Rupiah Banda.

Photo of President Rupiah Banda on the ruling party website.

In his welcoming remarks to the website President Banda says:

As President, I together with the MMD team have dedicated ourselves to improving Zambia's economy, ensuring security, stability and prosperity for all Zambians. We have worked especially and particularly to improve health care and education, to increase agricultural production and to secure and increase the number of jobs in Zambia, particularly for those in rural areas.

As you browse through our party web site, we want you to see why we need to continue working together, supporting the MMD Party for all Zambians, to continue with the development agenda we have been pushing forward for the greater development of our great nation Zambia.

National Restoration Party well known by its acronym, NAREP, has the following message among many:

NAREP’s vision is to create not only 1 million new jobs not only through the promotion of Zambia as an energy superpower, but to create 10,000 new businesses owners in each province. Our message of real change is unequalled but we need every person in Zambia to hear it. For this we need money and material support. We need your help and we are calling upon you, our supporters and well-wishers, to join us in building a new Zambia.

The Patriotic Front (PF), currently the biggest opposition party, has also taken advantage of the Internet to reach out to netizens. The website features a profile of the PF candidate Michael Sata whose one of his subtle principles states:

does not drink bottled water …until all Zambians have equal access to clean water.

The website of the United Party for National Development (UPND), the second largest opposition party, is more personalised to its party president, Hakainde Hichilema and candidate in the presidential elections and bears his name.

In a call for Zambians to vote for him, Hichilema gives his rich resume with the website stating:

The presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema (HH) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) are the hope of all people of Zambia for a change to a better future.

The Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED) has also jumped on the bandwagon to offer a website to its supporters and sympathisers.

*Thumbnail image: Campaign photo of Patriotic Front presidential candidate Michael Sata.

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