Friday, July 12, 2024

Zambia: Lungu trails rival Hichilema, questions fairness of vote

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu has questioned the fairness of Thursday’s presidential and general elections as he trails his rival, Hakainde Hichilema.

On Saturday, results from 62 of 156 constituencies had been released by the Zambian Electoral Commission.

The tally from those early results showed that opposition leader, Hichilema obtained 1,024,212 votes so far while incumbent President Edgar Lungu polled 562,523 votes.

Some constituency results released so far include the perceived Lungu strongholds.

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This signals how impressive Hichilema performed in this year’s elections compared to four years ago when he lost to Lungu.

President Lungu has however said the vote was not free and fair as he reacts to early results released during the weekend.

According to a statement from his office “President Lungu says the general election in three provinces, namely, Southern province, North Western province, and Western Province, were characterised by violence, rendering the whole exercise a nullity.”

President Edgar Lungu had deployed more troops in parts of the country to quell election violence.

Lungu said election-day violence had killed two people, including the chairman of his party in North-Western province.

In response, Hichilema’s United Party for National Development party said President Lungu’s comments were the “desperate final act of an outgoing administration”.

Final results are however expected to be released within 72 hours from the close of polling under Zambian law.

This year’s presidential election was expected to be very close between President Lungu, 64, and Hichilema, 59, who is vying for the position for the sixth time.

Hakainde Hichilema
Hakainde Hichilema

Hichilema is backed by an alliance of 10 parties in this presidential election.

In a statement on Twitter on Sunday Hichilema said “With victory in sight, I’d like to ask for calm from our members and supporters.

We voted for change for a better Zambia that’s free from violence and discrimination. Let us be the change we voted for and embrace the spirit of Ubuntu to love and live together harmoniously.”

There are already concession speeches coming out from the camps of other smaller political parties who say Hichilema and his UPND are headed for win.




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