President Edgar Lungu declares Zambian general elections 'not free and fair'

Zambia's incumbent president Edgar Lungu casts his vote at a polling station in Lusaka on August 12, 2021, as they country holds presidential and legislative elections.

Photo credit: Patrick Meinhardt | AFP

Zambian President Edgar Lungu has declared Thursday's presidential and parliamentary election "not free and fair" after incidents of violence in three provinces.

President Lungu was trailing the opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema in early results released by the Electoral Commission of Zambia.

Results announced on Saturday showed that from 31 of the country‘s 156 constituencies the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader was ahead with 449,699 votes against the president’s 266,202.

In a statement on Saturday, President Lungu said that election in Southern, North Western, and Western provinces were characterised by violence which rendered the whole exercise a nullity.

He said that his party, the Patriotic Front (PF) was consulting on the next course of action concerning the Thursday general election.

The Zambian Head of State said that PF polling agents were brutalised and chased from polling stations, a situation which left the ruling party's votes unprotected in the three provinces.

The President also cited the killing of PF North Western Province Chairman Jackson Kungo during voting and Mr Samuel Chichii, shortly before the exercise as criminal acts that rendered the exercise not free and fair. 

"Right now, some of our agents and supporters are hiding because of these criminal acts, how can the elections be free and fair when people have been murdered and many others are hiding after being brutalised? Is this democracy?" Mr Lungu posed.

He said that his party had written to the Electoral Commission of Zambia but they continued announcing results.

The President added: "With polling agents having been attacked and chased from polling stations, we are reduced to competing on seven provinces while our opponent was contesting in 10 provinces."

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