Counting of Election Results in Zambia has ended with the incumbent President Edgar Lungu emerging the winner, according to official results from the Elections Commission, which are being challenged by the main opposition party. The electoral commission posted 50.53% as the winning tally for Mr Lungu, againt his main rival’s 47.67% tally, a narrow lead, and barely crossing the 50% threshold needed to avoid a rerun according to Zambia’s new electoral act.
Hakainde Hichilema of the UPND, the main rival has though alleged electoral irregularities and fraud, and apparently earlier withdrew from the ballot verification process. This also comes on the heels of other parties casting aspersions on the process also. For example, a coalition of civil society organization – Zambia Election Information Centre, has said it is difficult to accept that the polls were “free and fair” due to “several flaws” in the election process.
The African Union delegation led by Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan has expressed satisfaction with the polls,
“The AU concludes that that the elections have been conducted in a peaceful atmosphere within the framework that satisfactorily meets the continental and regional principles of democratic elections… The AU encourages all parties to resort to legally established channels should there be a dispute on the outcome of the process.”
He however raised issues about the elections in some areas, criticizing the decision t hold a referendum alongside the elections, press safety, and government controlled press bias. This mild condemnation though, seems more amplified by other observer groups, with the EU laying further claims to press bias, while also raising issues bothering on hostile police attitude, and a harsh crackdown by the police on opposition political gatherings.
The UNDP’s Lawyer, Jack Mwiimbu has told journalists that they would contest the results:
“We have evidence to the effect that the votes for Hakainde Hichilema have been deliberately reduced in collusion with the Electoral Commission of Zambia”
Another allegation goes towards the use of State funds to finance the ruling party’s elections efforts, which means the victory “cannot be seen as a just win”.
LoveWorldSAT will bring you more updates as events unfold.