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13 Aug 2016
9:45 am

Lungu takes close early lead in Zambian election


Lungu was sworn in as the President of Zambia in January 2015.

Picture: Thinkstock

Incumbent Zambian President Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front has taken a close early lead in the presidential election with 17,620 votes against 16,358 in favour of main opposition presidential contender Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development.

According to some official results announced by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) late on Friday night, in Feira constituency, Lunga took 5733 votes while Hichilema took 2362.

Lungu dominated in the Mwansabombwe constituency, clinching 10,455 votes against Hichilema’s 1931 votes. Results from Chavuma constituency indicated a tight race with Lungu commanding 1432 votes and 1265 for Hichilema.

The counting of ballots in the 156 voting districts is still underway.

Meanwhile, theECZ on Friday announced the arrest of a man who snatched three ballot papers and bolted from a polling station in the Lusaka area.

In a statement, the ECZ said the man was apprehended by police officers who gave chase as he bolted from a polling station in the John Laing area of the capital on Thursday.

“The Commission has received a report that an individual from the John Laing obtained three ballot papers from the polling station and ran out of the polling station with them. He was chased after by uniformed staff and he was apprehended and is in police custody,” the ECZ said.

The commission also reported one incident of politically-motivated violence which took place outside the Kamwala polling station in Lusaka between supporters of incumbent President Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) and the main opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND).

The ECZ confirmed that some polling officers were disenfranchised because they did not know where to get certificates of authority to vote outside the constituencies where they are registered as voters.

“The Commission notes with regret that some officers did not know where to get the Certificate of authority to vote. They were supposed to get them from constituencies where they are registered to vote. However, they applied for the certificates at the centres where they were posted on duty. In some cases, officers made last minute applications, which made it very difficult for them to be attended to,” the ECZ said.

The Commission dismissed allegations of multiple voting and said it had found no evidence to prove social media allegations that a presiding officer at the Ngwerere Basic School in Lusaka prevented more than 2,000 people from exercising their right to vote.

However, it confirmed that some people were not allowed to vote when they turned up at the Vera Chiluba Basic School polling station after the close of voting at 6pm on Thursday evening. – African News Agency (ANA)