The votes are in, the count has not yet been completed, and the race remains tight as of today (August 12), following a violent lead up to election day, Zambians went to the polls yesterday to elect the next president of their country. The incumbent president, Lundu Edgar of the Patriotic Front Party (PF) and his major opponent Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) are the major contenders in this election cycle.
Edgar Lungu became president in 2015, following the death of President Michael Sata. He narrowly won the 2015 by election with 28,000 votes to defeat rival, Hichilema Hakainde. Seven other contestants are also in the race for the presidency. Each candidate has to nominate a vice president. Also for the first time a presidential candidate has to win more than 50% of the total votes, to avoid a runoff.
The build up to the election has been quite challenging and daunting, despite this, the turnout of voters in major cities like the capital Lusaka, was high.
Key members of the ruling party have decided to pitch their tent with the opposition. Mulenga Sata, son of the late Zambian president, Michael Sata has dumped his father’s party the PF, for UPND. Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba a former defense minister under Michael Sata’s administration, has also crossed over to the UPND.
According the the Daily Mail U.K. Hichilema has accused incumbent Lungu, his presidential party, and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) of election fraud.
“The ECZ (Electoral Commission of Zambia) is somehow conniving… to delay the release of results so that PF thugs armed with guns take over the polling stations at night and write fake results,” Hichilema told reporters in Lusaka.
“They are trying to generate the results.”
Hichilema, a wealthy business person who is making his fifth attempt to win the presidency, narrowly lost a snap election to Lungu last year by less than 28,000 votes.
Nigerianreporter.com will keep you up-to-date on elections results as they come in.