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.
Hundreds of Lungu’s supporters, most of them young men draped in the regalia of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), took to the streets, chanting slogans and singing, while drivers hooted their car horns in celebration. “I’m happy that Edgar Lungu can continue to be president because I see a good future with him. I want him to create jobs for young people,” said 15-year-old Zegu Kaunda who said he wanted to study law like Lungu.
But student Harrison Simenda, 24, who supports Hichilema, popularly known as HH, said: “They have stolen this election from HH but they will not enjoy it because I see very tough times ahead for our economy.”
UPND party lawyer Jack Mwiimbu told reporters: “We have evidence to the effect that the votes for Hakainde Hichilema have been deliberately reduced in collusion with the Election Commission of Zambia.”