Polling opened on Tuesday in Zambia’s tightly contested vote to elect a president after a ruling party power struggle following the death of Michael Sata in office last year. The two top contenders are Defence Minister Edgar Lungu (58) representing the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), and opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema (52) of the United Party for National Development (UPND). At stake is the remaining year and a half of Sata’s five-year term in Africa’s second biggest copper producer, where new taxes on the metal have become a surprising election issue. Lungu’s party introduced the tax in January, while Hichilema has promised to scrap it, pledging a business-friendly Zambia. The rivals – Lungu the lawyer and Hichilema the businessman, affectionately known as HH – drew huge crowds at last-minute rallies.
But in the absence of opinion polls analysts hedged their bets. “It’s a two-horse race,” said Oliver Saasa, CEO of Premier Consult, a business and economic consultancy firm. “It’s quite clear this is a very closely run race.”
Election-weary Zambians, who voted in scheduled elections that brought Sata to power three years ago and are also due to cast ballots next year, formed long queues despite early morning cold weather.
Full Article: iafrica.com Zambians vote in special election.