Zambian President Lungu Re-elected In Vote Rival Disputes

ZambiaZambian President, Edgar Lungu, narrowly won re-election on Monday in a vote his main rival said was rigged.

Hakainde Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) said it would appeal the result at the Constitutional Court, accusing election officials of fraud during the count which began after voting ended on Thursday.

Lungu faced a tough challenge from Hichilema in a campaign to rule over Africa’s second-largest copper producer which has suffered an economic slump due to depressed commodity prices.

According to Reuters, Lungu, who narrowly beat Hichilema in a vote last year to replace late President Michael Sata, won 50.35 percent of the vote against 47.63 for his opponent, the Election Commission of Zambia (ECZ) said on Monday.

Hundreds of Lungu’s supporters, most of them young men draped in the regalia of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), took to the streets, chanting slogans and singing, while drivers hooted their car horns in celebration.

“I’m happy that Edgar Lungu can continue to be president because I see a good future with him. I want him to create jobs for young people,” said 15-year-old Zegu Kaunda who said he wanted to study law like Lungu.

But student Harrison Simenda, 24, who supports Hichilema, popularly known as HH, said: “They have stolen this election from HH but they will not enjoy it because I see very tough times ahead for our economy”.

UPND party lawyer Jack Mwiimbu told reporters: “We have evidence to the effect that the votes for Hakainde Hichilema have been deliberately reduced in collusion with the Election Commission of Zambia”.

Presidential Election Holds In Zambia

Zambia
Zambians queue to cast their ballots for the Zambian Presidential elections at Kanyama primary in Lusaka on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Voting began on Tuesday for the next president of Zambia, one of Africa’s most promising frontier markets, in what shaped up as a tight race between a populist lawyer and a wealthy economist.

Edgar Lungu, leader of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), is seen having a slight edge over main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, a businessman whose United Party for National Development (UPND) has won over the middle-class and investors.

The two candidates had promised to improve the economy and create jobs in the country.

The winner would serve out the remaining 18 months of Michael Sata’s term as Zambia is due to hold a general election in 2016.

Former President, Michael Sata, passed away in October 2014 and Vice President Guy Scott became acting President of Zambia.

Observers have said that the election has been largely peaceful.

Counting of the ballots would begin shortly after polls close with results due to be announced within 48 hours.

Zambia is Africa’s biggest copper producer after Democratic Republic of Congo. Its mining sector had experienced a boom in recent years with the economy averaging a 6 to 7 percent growth.

It however slowed to to 5.5 percent in 2014 from being one of the world’s best performing economies.