Zambia’s constitutional court on Monday threw out an attempt by the defeated presidential candidate to annul August’s election results, clearing the way for President Edgar Lungu’s inauguration next week. Hakainde Hichilema, who lost the election by 100,000 votes, alleged that the result was rigged and launched a legal bid to stop Lungu retaining power. Zambia is known for its relative stability, but the run-up to the vote was marked by clashes between supporters of Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) and Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND). “There is no petition to be heard before this court,” said judge Annie Sitali, ruling that a 14-day deadline for the legal challenge had expired.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Zambia.
Zambia’s main opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND) has requested the Constitutional Court to take custody of election materials from the electoral body ahead of a petition they filed challenging the election of president Edgar Lungu. According to the UPND’s application filed on Monday, ballot papers and election materials currently held by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should be in the custody of the court. The party also sought an injunction to restrain the Electoral Commission from tampering, altering and destroying any election material.
Zambia’s opposition leader, the declared loser of last week’s disputed presidential elections, waged a last-ditch effort in the country’s constitutional court to have the vote results overturned, citing widespread irregularities, officials said Saturday. Hakainde Hichilema, head of the opposition United Party for National Development, said a “deliberate collusion” between Zambia’s Electoral Commission and the ruling Patriotic Front party to steal his votes during the counting process cost him victory. The Electoral Commission of Zambia said Monday that President Edgar Lungu narrowly won the election with 50.3% of the vote against the 48% garnered by Mr. Hichilema—a 54-year-old wealthy businessman—which was sufficient to avoid a runoff. More than 150 people have since been arrested in protests against the results, which has threatened to unsettle one of Africa’s most stable democracies. But the suit could take the dispute into a courtroom and off the streets, allaying fears of widespread violence.
Zambia’s main opposition, the United Party for National Development (UPND), plans to petition the Constitutional Court on Friday regarding the outcome of the August 11 presidential poll won by incumbent President Edgar Lungu. The UPND also aims to stop the official installation of Lungu, which has been scheduled for next Tuesday. The Electoral Commission of Zambia declared Lungu the winner of the presidential election with 50.35 percent of the total votes cast, while the main opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema from the UPND, garnered 47.67 percent of the votes.
Zambian 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. 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.
Zambian president Edgar Lungu led his main election challenger Hakainde Hichilema as the vote count drew to a close amid complaints of irregularities by the main opposition and demands for a recount in the province with the most registered voters. Verified results from 132 of the 156 constituencies showed Lungu with 50.1 percent of the 2.9 million valid votes cast on Aug. 11 and Hichilema with 47.7 percent, the Electoral Commission of Zambia said Sunday. A candidate must win a majority to avoid a runoff. A high voter turnout and delays in transmitting results from regional centers has held up the release of tallies, commission Chairman Esau Chulu said Saturday. “We have formally requested a recount in Lusaka urban constituencies due to the high number of irregularities identified in the counting and transmission process,” Stephen Katuka, secretary general at Hichilema’s United Party for National Development, said in an e-mail. “The evidence clearly shows that without this recount the election would be severely compromised and could result in a stolen election.”
The law provides that the party can raise a petition within seven days “if they feel that something is not right,” Electoral Commission of Zambia spokesman Crispin Akufuna said in an interview.
President Edgar Lungu was ahead of his main rival on Saturday in early counting from Zambia’s presidential election, but the main opposition said its count showed their candidate ahead and the vote may have been rigged. Lungu faces a stiff challenge from United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema, who accuses him of failing to steer the economy out of its slump after Africa’s second-largest copper producer was hit by weak commodity prices. He led with 262,149 votes against Hichilema’s 243,794 after 29 of the country’s 156 constituencies in Thursday’s voting had been collated, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) told a news conference also attended by political parties. Early results announced on Saturday from only eight constituencies had put Hichilema ahead. In a statement, the UPND said data from its own parallel counting system showed Hichilema beating Lungu “with a clear margin”, based on about 80 percent of votes counted.
Ballot counting in Zambia was under way Friday after voting ended in a hotly contested election that pitted President Edgar Lungu against his main challenger, Hakainde Hichilema, for the second times in 19 months. Less than 28,000 votes separated the two men when they contested a snap poll in January last year, after President Michael Sata died in office. While Lungu’s administration has improved the country’s road system and built new clinics and schools, a growth slump, soaring food prices and job losses on the nation’s copper mines have dented his chances of winning a full five-year term. The run-up to Thursday’s largely peaceful vote for the president as well as lawmakers, mayors and local councilors was marred by violence that claimed as many as six lives, threatening the country’s reputation as one of Africa’s most stable democracies. The ruling Patriotic Front and Hichilema’s United Party for National Development have blamed each other for the clashes.
Zambians formed long lines at polling stations on Thursday in a tight election race for president and parliament that has been marred by violence between rival factions. There were no immediate reports of unrest during voting in a country whose peaceful transitions of power in the past have been held up as a democratic model in Africa. However, officials were anticipating tension after polls closed Thursday evening and after the final announcement of results, expected within 24 hours. A winner must get more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election. The leader of the African Union observer mission and former Nigerian President Goodkuck Jonathan said he was happy with the process so far. “Zambians are known to be peaceful. We encourage to continue maintaining that standard,” he said.
At least three people have been killed during the campaign, with regular clashes erupting between supporters of Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) and Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND). Ahead of the vote, the election commission issued an emergency statement describing the unrest as “unprecedented” and warning it had “marred Zambia’s historic record of peaceful elections”. Last month, campaigning was halted in Lusaka for 10 days to reduce the violence. But skirmishes continued until polling day, including fighting in the streets and vehicles overturned close to Hichilema’s final rally on Wednesday in Lusaka.
Zambia, often praised for its healthy democracy and economy, now faces a presidential election with high tensions on both fronts. This southern African country votes Thursday amid concerns about political violence after years of peaceful power transitions that the U.S. last year praised as a “model for Africa.” President Edgar Lungu, who has been in office for just a year and a half, faces businessman Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development. Lungu took office in January 2015 after the death of President Michael Sata. For the first time, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the vote or face a runoff election. Lungu and the ruling Patriotic Front party won last year’s election with 48 percent of votes. Hichilema, who got 46 percent in his fourth showing as a presidential candidate, called the vote a sham.
Zambia has been hailed as one of Africa’s most stable and mature democracies. It has held regular multi-party elections since 1991, including in 2011 when President Rupiah Banda lost, accepted defeat and stepped down. But this poll is being contested under new rules. The constitution was amended in response to the deaths of two sitting presidents in less than five years, which meant early elections on both occasions. Under the new rules, a presidential candidate is required to have a running mate who will become vice-president and take over if the president dies in office. For the first time, the winner must also secure a minimum of one vote more than 50% of the ballots cast. Otherwise the poll will go into a second round, to be held within 37 days. This means the president should have gained the support of a wider cross-section of society.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu says he is ready to use draconian means to ensure the country remains peaceful after next week’s presidential, parliamentary, local and referendum elections. Lungu from the ruling Patriotic Party says he has intelligence that members of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) plan to cause havoc if the party is unable to win the polls. But in an interview with VOA, Canisius Banda, deputy leader of the UPND, says Lungu’s statement is unfortunate and regrettable. He says the president has the backing of the constitution to ensure the unity of Zambia. Banda, however, says the president would rather plunge the country into tension, violence and chaos if he uses draconian means to enforce peace.
Verification of Presidential ballot papers for the August 11 general elections has been completed. The Electoral Commission of Zambia -ECZ- and political party representatives taking part in the exercise have since commenced verification of ballots for local government elections which include councillors, mayors, and council chairpersons. The stakeholders are also expected to start verifying the referendum ballots today. And UPND Director Research and Policy Joseph Lungu is happy with the manner process has been conducted.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia says printed ballots to be used in the August 11 elections will arrive in Lusaka on Thursday. ECZ officials said political party representatives would be at the airport in the capital to receive and inspect the ballots before they are transported to polling stations across the country. The ECZ awarded a contract to the Dubai-based al-Ghurair Printing Company to prepare all ballots to be used for the presidential, legislative and local elections and a referendum. Opposition parties, including the United Party for National Development, said the printing of ballots by a company outside the continent was too expensive and could be used by the government to rig the elections. Until this year, ballots for Zambian elections were printed in South Africa.
The European Union (EU) has called for voter education to enhance effective participation in next month’s elections. EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) chief observer Cecille Kyenge said this yesterday when she met some Copperbelt civil society organisations at Mukuba Hotel in Ndola to discuss their activities and contributions to the electoral process. Ms Kyenge said the voters were an important component in the electoral process and that having met Ndola-based civil society organisations, the mission was pleased with their strong dedication.
Opposition parties in Zambia are questioning the choice of a Dubai printing company to supply the ballots for the August 11 general election. The electoral commission awarded the contract to the Al Ghurair Printing Company to prepare all ballots to be used, and the government says the printing is complete. But opposition parties, including the United Party for National Development, say the printing of ballots by a company outside the continent is too expensive and could be used by the government to rig the elections. Until this year, ballots for the Zambian elections were printed in South Africa. Jack Mwiimbu, the UPND’s head of legal affairs, said the decision could undermine the integrity of the presidential, legislative and local elections. He also said the party had documentary proof of some Zambians celebrating after the chairman of the electoral commission, Justice Essau Chulu, officially declared that the Dubai company had won the bidding for the ballot job.
A Zambian opposition party has challenged the electoral commission’s decision to suspend campaigns in Namwala and Lusaka following a surge in politically related violence in the two cities. The Forum for Democracy and Development petitioned the Constitutional Court, which by law must handle all election-related disputes in Zambia within seven days after they are filed. The Electoral Commission of Zambia said it has the constitutional authority to change campaign timetables, and that it therefore could suspend the campaigning after the violence, which allegedly was carried out by supporters of the main opposition United Party for National Development. The violence in Namwala left FDD parliamentary candidate Charity Kabongomana injured and hospitalized.
Political campaigning in Zambia’s capital Lusaka has been suspended for 10 days because of violent clashes before next month’s national elections, the electoral commission said. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) announced on Sunday that it was suspending campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala, south of the capital, until July 18 when the situation would be reviewed. “The electoral commission of Zambia has observed with dismay the rise in political violence in some districts which has regrettably resulted in injury, loss of life and property,” commission spokesman Chris Akufuna said in a statement. No public rallies, meetings, processions or door-to-door campaigning would be allowed, Akufuna said.
Zambian police have charged three people connected with an independent newspaper that was shut down in what activists are saying is a crackdown on freedom of speech ahead of a general election. The country’s tax agency, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), closed The Post newspaper’s offices in the capital Lusaka on June 21, citing $6 million in unpaid taxes. But the newspaper has claimed the unpaid bill is part of an ongoing dispute and has continued to publish from an undisclosed location, posting an acerbic editorial against President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday that claimed its journalists would not be coerced into stopping production.