Zambian President Edgar Lungu has been declared as the winner of a closely-fought re-election contest in the South African country, amid vote fraud allegations made by the main opposition party.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia made the announcement on Monday, saying Lungu garnered 1,860,877 votes or 50.35 percent of the votes while his main rival and opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, of the United Party for National Development (UPND), received 1,760,347 votes.
Following the announcement of the result, hundreds of Lungu’s supporters, mostly young people, took to the streets, chanting slogans and singing in celebration.
“I’m happy that Edgar Lungu can continue to be president because I see a good future with him. I want him to create jobs for young people,” said a 15-year-old reveler.
Zambia’s ruling party Patriotic Front president-elect Edgar Lungu’s supporters celebrate after the announcement of Lungu as the presidential race winner on August 15, 2016 in Lusaka. (AFP photo)
This is while the UPND immediately rejected the result, accusing the electoral commission of vote tampering in favor of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) in the Thursday election.
“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 reporters.
“We have confidence that the constitutional court will rise above board and declare the results a nullity,” he added.
Zambian presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema of main opposition party United Party for National Development looks on after casting his ballot during Zambia’s election on August 11, 2016 in Lusaka. (AFP photo)
The election contest was focused on the economy, after months of climbing unemployment, mine closures, power shortages as well as surging food prices in Africa
’s second largest copper producer.
The incumbent president has been in office for just 19 months after he first took power last year when he beat Hichilema by less than 28,000 votes in a snap election following the death of former president Michael Sata.
Lungu’s re-election will see him remain in power for another five-year term.