08:36 am
25 October 2016

Zambian Opposition Candidate, Hichilema Claims Election Fraud Amid Results Delay

Lusaka (AFP) – Zambia’s main challenger to President Edgar Lungu on Friday alleged electoral fraud, accusing the election commission of colluding with the ruling Patriotic Front to delay announcing the election results, a day after voting.

“The ECZ (Electoral Commission of Zambia) is somehow conniving with people in the political arena to delay the release of results so that PF thugs armed with guns take over the polling stations at night and write fake results,” United Party for National Development (UPND) candidate Hakainde Hichilema told journalists.

“They are trying to generate the results.”

The allegations come after the campaigns by the two leading candidates were marred by violence in a country known for its relative stability.

This afternoon, the Electoral Commission of Zambia held a closed door meeting with leaders of political parties at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, the National Results totaling centre, who contested yesterday’s general election. The meeting, which started at about 16.30 hours, ended around 18:20 hours.

The other opposition leader that attended the meeting was FDD’s Edith Nawakwi while President Edgar Lungu was being represented by PF Secretary General, Davies Chama and National Chairman, Ngosa Simbyakula.

Other parties, which have also sent representatives, are Rainbow, UNIP, DA, UPP, Green Party, and PAC.

Meanwhile, FDD leader, Edith Nawakwi disclosed that the meeting agreed that the police should go round some polling stations, where anxiety has heightened.

Ms Nawakwi also said that the discussion was also centred on the release of the election results and the circulation of the G-12 Form to pollings stations.

Earlier, the ECZ had rescheduled the commencement of the announcing of election results to 18 hours.

ECZ Public Relations Manager, Cris Akufuna explained that the decision to reschedule was arrived at consultatively, between the political party agents and commission Chairperson.

The commission earlier stated that the unrest was “unprecedented” and had “marred Zambia’s historic record of peaceful elections”.

After a calm day of voting Thursday, early results were expected Friday — with the complete tally due out at the weekend.

But a scheduled briefing on Friday was repeatedly delayed, leaving voters anxious.

Hichilema urged his supporters to stay peaceful.

“What is going on is collusion between the PF, police and the ECZ to steal this result especially presidential results,” he said.

“Don’t fall into their trap to be driven into violence”

Fewer than 28,000 votes separated Lungu and wealthy businessman Hichilema in a snap 2015 ballot that brought Lungu to power.

Constitutional changes mean that the winner must now secure more than 50 percent of the vote, pointing to a possible second round run-off.