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.