Sunday, 11 January 2015

Elias Chipimo Jr. Suspends His Presidential Campaigns

Chipimo campaigning in Mansa last week
By Paul Shalala
National Restoration Party (NAREP) presidential candidate Elias Chipimo, Jr. has suspended his campaigns ahead of the January 20, 2015 presidential election.
Mr Chipimo, who just returned from campaigning in Luapula and Northern Province, says he has suspended his campaign in order to sit by the bedside of his father Elias Chipimo Sr. who was diagnosed with stomach cancer and is admitted to a South African hospital.
He has however urged his supporters to continue campaigning in his absence.
Mr Chipimo says he has not endorsed any one of the other 10 presidential candidates as he still remains on the ballot paper.

This is the second time Mr Chipimo is contesting the presidency.

In 2011 he contested and lost.
Below is the press statement Mr Chipimo issued in Lusaka this morning:

Press Statement

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. We are entering the final phase of the presidential by-election and the stakes for our country remain as high as ever.

I became involved in politics in order to bring something fresh to the electorate - politics of ideas and solutions, not the hate and violence that has continued to dominate the news headlines. The journey has not been an easy one. It was never expected to be. We came into this process with a lot of hope but with no illusions.

I have visited rural community upon rural community over the course of the last five years since we launched our Party. As recently as yesterday, I visited a small village that borders the vast plains of the Luapula River in Samfya District. Learning that women in this village are still dying in childbirth because the nearest clinic is more than 13 kilometers away reminded me of what triggered my decision to join politics in the first place - the death of my mother in an appalling road accident along the Mpika/Kasama road in 2008 and the sad reality of our broken healthcare system.

That accident nearly took the life of my father as well. He survived only because through the sheer grace of God, we were able as a family to fly him to Lusaka and therefore save his life.

I knew in my heart that it could not be right that just because I had an education, a good income and a privileged upbringing, I should live in hope while others suffered needlessly. I therefore made the choice from the day we buried my mother, to do everything within my power to make a difference for those communities that have no chance of surviving a road accident or being able to save a dying relative.
My dedication to the journey we started nearly five years ago is as firm as ever and will never waiver. We shall continue to campaign and spread our message of hope and economic freedom for every Zambian, firmly believing that our approach and commitment have touched and will continue to touch the hearts of many.
Chipimo campaigning in Samfya last week

In the nine days of the campaign remaining, I have chosen to make an important decision - to temporarily suspend my campaign in order to spend time with the man who gave me life - my father. Just over three weeks ago, Dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Given his age and the extent to which the cancer appears to have spread, the prognosis does not look promising. I have had to come to terms with the prospect of sooner or later saying goodbye to an inspirational giant of a man whose lone voice spoke out bravely against the tyranny of the one party state in Zambia, at great personal cost.
My father has never looked back on his life with regret. He remains the fighter he has always been. But he needs his family around him now. He is currently in a cancer hospital in South Africa and being looked after by my sister who lives there and my other brothers and sisters that have travelled to be by his side. He needs to experience the blessing of having his three daughters and four sons by his side as he prepares to celebrate his 84th birthday. I do not know how many more days, weeks, months or years God will grant him. All I know is that there is a time for everything and I want to spend whatever time he has left on this earth assuring him, along with my brothers and sisters, of my love, support and admiration.
I ask that you all pray for my father as he battles through his cancer and that you respect my time away from the campaign to be with him. My time away does not amount to the end of our participation in the forth coming election and should not be read as a sign of endorsement of any candidate. I urge all our supporters across the country to continue with the campaigns in my absence and ensure that peace prevails wherever they go.
May God's grace be with you all.
Elias C. Chipimo, Jr
National Restoration Party
Sunday 11 January 2015

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