Africa 14.8.2016 12:26 pm

Zambian opposition Hichilema leads presidential race

FILE PICTURE: An electoral commissioner waits in Lusaka for voters to vote in the presidential election. Picture: Gallo Images/Beeld/Waldimar Pelser

FILE PICTURE: An electoral commissioner waits in Lusaka for voters to vote in the presidential election. Picture: Gallo Images/Beeld/Waldimar Pelser

The electoral war has in the meantime also spilled into court.

Zambian opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has maintained a slight lead in the presidential race, garnering 514 816 votes over 511 386 in favour of incumbent President Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front (PF).

Announcing the results update at early on Sunday morning, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson Justice Esau Chulu said the latest vote tally covered 54 of the 156 constituencies nationwide.

The additional results were from the 12 constituencies of Kabombo, Membeshi, Chipata Central, Lusaka Central, Lunga, Pemba, Luangeni, Chifubu, Solwezi East, Manyinga, Malole, and Nalikwanda.

Third placed candidate and ex-government minister Edith Nawakwi of the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) garnered 7 440 votes as the rest of the eight presidential hopefuls continued to peform dismally.

Meanwhile, the Lusaka High Court has turned down a UPND request to grant an order for the suspension of the release of all election results until the ECZ suspended three of its top officials the UPND accuses of conniving with Lungu to rig the poll outcome.

In an urgent chamber application filed at the court on Friday night, UPND lawyer Martha Mushipe sought the suspension of chief electoral officer Priscilla Isaac Mulenga, deputy information technology (IT) director Brown Kasaro, and IT specialist Theresa Phiri, as well as the suspension of electronic transmission of poll results, because “unauthorised people had manipulated the figures”.

However, High Court Judge Florence Lengalenga declined to grant the order for the suspension of the ECZ staff. She further said there should be no interruption in the electronic transmission of the election results.

Instead, she set August 17 as the date for an inter-party hearing that would hear arguments from both sides in the matter. The next batch of results was due to be released at 11am on Sunday.

– African News Agency (ANA

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