Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Zambia: Voters defies rain to elect president

Thousands of voters in Lusaka turned out to vote defying the rains in the race to choose the president to succeed President Michael Sata.

At Andrew Mwenya polling station in Lusaka Patriotic Front candidate Edgar Lungu was treated to a rapturous welcome when he arrived to vote in his constituency Chawama and promised continuity should he win the presidential poll.

And his closest rival UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema has rung an early claim of rigging by saying that ballot papers have not been sent to some of his strongholds in North Western Province.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission of Zambia has revealed that voting that had not commenced in 164 polling stations due to challenges mostly posed by the weather.

In Lusaka some voters in some areas braved the rains to cast their votes.

In Chawama Lungu made journalists and SADC election of observers Head of Mission Mighty Nkowane wait for two hours before he eventually emerged and voted at 10:14 hours.

When Lungu emerged some voters abandoned their voting posts to burst into chants of “Let’s go Lungu! Let’s go” and almost overwhelmed his security personnel as he squeezed into the voting room.

The whole area came to standstill and when he emerged out he was swarmed by a mob of journalists that had waited for him from 07:00 hours after it was reported that he would vote at 08:00 hours.

Lungu said that he would continue the legacy of late President Michael Sata.

“My job is simple it is to continue the work left by President Sata. Some people think that I am weak but they will discover how tough I am,” he said. “Just wait you will see how tough I can be.”

And Hichilema cast a troubled demeanour after casting his vote at Kabulonga Boys High School pouring his fears about the possible disfranchisement of some of the voters in his strongholds.

“How can you have no ballot papers in Chavuma West, Mitete, Liuwa and Zambezi West because by now people could have been voting…and these are my strongholds,” he said.

ECZ director Priscilla Isaacs admitted there had been challenges in some polling stations due to the weather but said the institution was working to rectify the problems.

Eleven presidential candidates are in the race who include Lungu, Hichilema, Nevers Mumba (MMD), Peter Sinkamba (Green Party), Elias Chipimo (Narep), Erick Chanda (Forth Revolution Party), Ludwig Sondashi (FDA), Godfrey Miyanda (HP), Edith Nawakwi (FDD), Tilyenji Kaunda (UNIP).

-Zambia Reports

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