The man who came second in last week’s Zambian special presidential election has called for a new constitution that will ensure a truly independent electoral commission. Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) said the current commission serves the interest of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party because its members are appointed by the president. The election commission said PF candidate Edgar Lungu won 48.3 percent of the vote, while Hichilema finished second with 46.7 percent. … Asked if he will run again in the next presidential election, Hichilema said he would leave that decision up to his party’s central committee to decide. He said Zambia needs electoral reform.
On Jan. 20, 1.6 million Zambians went to the polls to vote in a special presidential election arranged after the death of former President Michael Sata. (Technically, some of them had to wait until Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 21 and 22.) Edgar Lungu of the ruling party, the Patriotic Front (PF), won the closely fought race, with 48.3 percent of the vote. United Party of National Development (UPND) candidate Hakainde Hichilema lost after garnering 46.7 percent of the vote. It was unclear who would emerge the victor until late Saturday when the final ballots were counted and acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda declared Lungu the winner. Hichilema released a statement Saturday before the final declaration was made; in it, he alleged the election had been stolen by Lungu and the PF. The allegations didn’t stop Lungu from being inaugurated early Sunday.