Zambia opposition cries foul as Lungu wins presidential election

25 January 2015
Author 
Mr Hichilema said the outcome of the poll had been “predetermined” by Edgar Lungu and his supporters Photo: REUTERS

Hakainde Hichilema claims ruling party candidate Edgar Lungu’s win was "predetermined"

Zambia's ruling party candidate, Edgar Lungu, won the presidential election on Saturday with 48.3 per cent of the vote, the Electoral Commission of Zambia said.

Mr Lungu narrowly defeated his closest rival, Hakainde Hichilema, in the contest to succeed Michael Sata, who died in office in October aged 77.

Mr Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) won 46.67 per cent of the vote.

Mr Lungu's victory was greeted with cheers and dancing after the chairwoman of the Electoral Commission of Zambia Ireen Mambilima, announced the results of the Tuesday vote which Mr Hichilema had earlier denounced as a sham.

“If Edgar Lungu is sworn in as president he will certainly be an illegitimate president going by what we have discovered at the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ),” Mr Hichilema, a millionaire cattle-rancher, told a press conference in the capital Lusaka on Saturday afternoon.

“He truly knows that the results that have been given to him by individuals at the ECZ are not from the citizens who voted. A stolen election does not reflect the will of the people and is not going to deliver.”

His claims followed several tense days after the vote count was delayed by heavy rains preventing the delivery of ballot boxes from outlying areas.

Despite Mr Hichilema's allegations, he appealed for calm from his supporters, reminding them that the general election in 2016 was not far away.

"People who steal elections come and go. The people of Zambia are always there,” he said.

Mr Hichilema had made allegations about foul play before the polls closed, saying helicopters carrying his election officials had been blocked from taking off, and ballot boxes had failed to arrive in strongholds of his UPND party.

He has also accused the ruling Patriotic Front of corruption in the last general election in 2011, and subsequent by-elections.

At his last rally in a sports stadium in the capital, Mr Lungu warned his rival not to make trouble. “I urge him to accept the result because if he loses and becomes funny I will deal with him,” he said. “I will not hesitate to enforce the law. I will jealously guard the election."

The Southern African Development Community, which sent election monitors to Zambia, declared it “free and fair” on January 22. - The Telegraph

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