Zambians are voting in presidential and parliamentary elections after a campaign marred by violence between rival party groups.
The polls opened early this morning and already queues of hundreds of people waiting to cast their ballots were observed. Most people have heeded the calls of campaigners to come out and vote in their numbers. The opposition has grave concerns that the build-up to the election and possibly the vote itself will not be free and fair.
About 6.7 million people are registered to vote in Zambia, where President Edgar Lungu’s left-leaning PF faces a tough challenge from pro-business opposition leader Hichilema and his UPND.
Lungu, 59, became president after narrowly-winning a January 2015 by-election after the death of his predecessor Michael Sata. The opposition has accused the PF of not being able to contain a crisis created by falling prices of copper – the country’s main revenue earner – and drought-induced electricity shortages, which triggered a steep fall of the Kwacha currency and spiraling inflation.
Both parties are confident of outright victory. We wish Zambia peaceful elections.