Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has declared that the country’s elections were not free and fair. The incumbent’s declaration comes as his rival, opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has extended his early lead.
Zambia held its presidential and parliamentary elections on Thursday 12 August 2021. According to official results from 31 of the country’s 156 constituencies, Hichilema garnered 449,699 votes versus the 266,202 garnered by Lungu. 64-year-old Lungu has been in power since 2015 and is running for a second five-year term.
Hichilema is reported to have won and gained massive ground in constituencies perceived as Lungu strongholds. Following unfavourable results so far, Lungu seems to be moving to nullify the elections by declaring them not free and fair.
This was revealed in a statement released by the State House, through Isaac Chipampe, the special assistant to the president.
Below is the full statement that Zimbabwe Observer is publishing in full.
PRESIDENT LUNGE DECLARES GENERAL ELECTION NOT FREE AND FAIR
LUSAKA, (Saturday 14th August 2021)— His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia has said his party, the Patriotic Front, is consulting on the next course of action concerning the general election held on Thursday, 12th August 2021.
President Lungu says the general election in three provinces, namely, Southern Province. North Western Province, and Western Province, were characterised by violence, rendering the whole exercise a nullity.
The President said Patriotic Front polling agents were brutalised and chased from polling stations, a situation that left the ruling party’s votes unprotected in the three provinces. The President also cites the killing of Patriotic Front North Western Province Chairman Jackson Kungo, during voting, and Mr Samuel Chihili, shortly before the voting, as criminal acts that rendered the general election not free and fair.
“Right now, some of our agents and supporters are in hiding because of these criminal acts. How can the elections be fair when people have been murdered and many others are in hiding after being brutalised. Is that democracy? We have written to the Electoral Commission of Zambia but they have continued announcing the results. So, we are consulting on the next decision we have to make,” the President said, and added, “with polling agents having been attacked and chased from polling stations, we were reduced to competing in seven provinces while our opponent was contesting in 10 provinces.”