Edgar Lungu Wins Re-Election as Zambian President

Mark Babatunde August 17, 2016
The Zambian Electoral Commision has announced Edgar Lungu as winner of the 11 August presidential elections. Bella Naija

Edgar Lungu has been announced winner after the Zambian Presidential elections last Thursday. The 59-year-old incumbent won the vote by a very slim margin. Lungu was elected President of Zambia last year after the sudden demise of sitting President Michael Sata.

Thursday’s elections pitched Lungu against eight other contestants, among them the foremost opposition, heavyweight Hakainde Hichilema. Hichilema, 54, is a trained economist and successful businessman who has been a constant feature on the Zambian political scene for nearly a decade.

According to Al Jazeera, official results from the Zambian Electoral Commission say Lungu and his party, the Patriotic Front (PF) secured 50.3 percent of total votes cast. His closest rival, Hichilema of the United Party of National Development (UPDN) pulled in 47.7 percent of the votes cast. The result was just enough to get Lungu past the 50 percent benchmark of national votes required to win the elections.

New election rules stipulate that a winner must have secured the votes from a balanced national representation of the electorate rather than just a simple majority. The rule was instituted to prevent a repeat of previous elections that have seen presidents emerge out of a packed field of contestants simply because they managed to secure the block votes of a particular ethnic group.

At the end of the election, the Zambian Electoral Commission delayed the announcement of results by several days. With a heavy police presence deployed across the country, especially in the capital, Lusaka, Hichilema and his UPDN party raised questions about the transparency of the election process. Hichilema, who had earlier considered boycotting the elections, alleged collusion between the electoral body and President Lungu’s PF party.

Speaking on behalf of his party, UPDN’s lawyer Jack Mwiimbu urged the courts to annul the election results over what he considered irregularities, saying: “We have confidence that the constitutional court will rise above board and declare the results a nullity….We have evidence to the effect that the votes for Hakainde Hichilema have been deliberately reduced in collusion with the Electoral Commission of Zambia.”

The electoral commission and the PF have denied the allegations of any possible collusion, pointing out the difficulty in collating and releasing results in a general election that also included voting for a referendum on the bill of rights.

The official declaration of Lungu’s victory was greeted by widespread rejoicing among thousands of jubilant supporters in Lusaka and around the country. There have also been reports of near-violent demonstrations by Hichilema’s supporters, many of whom believe the elections were rigged.

Last Edited by:Deidre Gantt Updated: June 19, 2018


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