Zambia: President Edgar Lungu elected in disputed vote

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu. PHOTO: ZAMBIA

Zambia’s incumbent President Edgar Lungu has defeated his main rival Hakainde Hichilema, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has said, in a closely fought presidential election marred by allegations of fraud.

Lungu, leader of the Patriotic Front (PF), won 50.35 percent of the vote against 47.67 percent for Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND), the commission said on Monday.

The opposition party quickly rejected the result, claiming the electoral commission had colluded to rig the vote against its candidate.

“We have evidence to the effect that the votes for Hakainde Hichilema have been deliberately reduced in collusion with the Electoral Commission of Zambia,” the UPND’s lawyer Jack Mwiimbu told journalists, according to the Reuters news agency.

“We have confidence that the constitutional court will rise above board and declare the results a nullity,” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Tania Page, reporting from the capital Lusaka, said Hichilema “has really been able to cast a lot of doubt over the process”, raising many complaints about the campaign period and vote counting process.

“Some of that has been supported by international observer missions,” Page said.

“Most particularly, the European Union, which agreed with his claims that the state media is heavily biased towards the government.”

The EU also supported Hichilema’s view that police had acted with political motives at times, and had also cracked down “quite harshly” on some of his political gatherings, our correspondent said.