President Edgar Lungu of Zambia who is trailing in vote count in the just concluded presidential elections has issued a statement to the press in which he has declared the election as not free and fair.
A statement from Statehouse said, “President Lungu says the general election in three provinces, namely, Southern province, Northwestern province, and Western Province, were characterized by violence, rendering the whole exercise a nullity.”
He also lamented about the treatment of his party’s agents were attacked and kicked out of polling stations, leaving their votes unprotected.
Businessman Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development party leads Lungu of the Patriotic Front party by a wide margin in 31 out of 156 constituencies counted so far.
Mr. Hichilema has termed the president’s statement as “desperate final act of an outgoing administration”.
Further a statement issued by Hichilema’s spokesperson said, “The other side clearly know they have lost and are trying to throw out the entire election just to cling on to their jobs,”
Thursday’s elections were largely peaceful. A preliminary report released by the European Union, part of the international election observers team said that the elections were “marred by unequal campaign conditions, restrictions on freedoms of assembly and movement, and abuse of incumbency”.
President Edgar Lungu ,64, has been in power since 2015 and is running for his second 5-year term. With 11% of the vote counted thus far, Hichilema has 449,669 votes thus far as compared to 266,202.
In the days leading up to the elections, the government was accused of heavy handedness and restriction of social media. A statement issued by a London based media monitoring agency said,
“Facebook’s apps are among those affected by the limitations imposed on social media services in Zambia,”
“We continue to actively monitor the situation and are in touch with the relevant authorities in Zambia.”
It has always been tough for African presidents to concede defeat especially those running for re-elections. Its therefore no surprise to see the behaviour of the Zambian president who enjoys incumbency.