Zambians go to the polls on January 20 to elect a new leader following the death of President Michael Sata in October. Edgar Lungu, candidate for the ruling Patriotic Front party, appears to have a slight advantage. He faces stiff competition, though, from popular opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema, who has received an unexpected boost from infighting within the ruling party. The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) was rocked by a leadership battle as contenders jostled for the presidential nomination, just days after President Michael Sata’s death in late October. But seeds of the clashes started earlier, when Lungu, who holds the twin portfolios of justice and defense minister, was controversially appointed the party’s secretary-general in August. He ousted then-justice minister Wynter Kabimba, once considered the most likely successor to the top seat.
The party has since worked hard to overcome damage from the rocky internal nomination process, with a robust media campaign and shoring up powerful alliances with leaders of the Bemba, the largest ethnic group in the country.
Then last week, Lungu gained the endorsement of former president Rupiah Banda, who turned against his own party, the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, the MMD.
Lungu’s greatest asset going into the polls, however, may be his affiliation with late president Sata, who had strong grassroots support.
Full Article: Zambia Gears Up for Presidential Vote.