Lungu retains power after divisive Zambia poll
From ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – ZAMBIA appears headed for a political crisis after incumbent President Edgar Lungu defeated arch-rival Hakainde Hichilema in a tightly contested presidential election whose outcome the opposition has disputed.
According to election results released on Monday, amid some delays and tension, the Electoral Commission of Zambia declared Lungu’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF) romped to victory with 50,35 percent of votes ahead of Hichilema’s 47,67 percent.
Lungu’s PF recorded a 1 860 877 while Hichilema managed 1 760 347 in the fiercest poll in the Southern African country’s 52-year history.
Addressing journalists in Lusaka, the capital city, ECZ chairperson Justice Esau Chulu declared Lungu the duly-elected winner.
While the PF received the results with jubilation, the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) rejected the outcome alleging rigging by the ruling party.
At the time of going to press, the opposition was demanding a recount of the votes in Lusaka while maintaining overall the elections were not free and fair.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU) and other independent election observers had not yet issued a conclusion.
However, the run-up to polling was characterized by violence between the rival parties.
Over 30 cases of electoral violence as destruction of campaign material, shootings, damage to property and physical attacks on citizens and police were recorded.
Opposition has accused PF of plans to rig the vote while ithas retorted, accusing the UPND of carrying out its “Operation Watermelon” to create tension in the country.
– CAJ News
Short URL: http://cajnewsafrica.com/?p=14669