Yesterday, the victory of President Edgar Lungu in the Zambian election was announced.
He had secured a very close victory over his rival, Hakainde Hichilema, getting 50.35 percent of the vote while Hichilema got 47.63 percent.
President Lungu who only needed a 50 percent vote to secure the win can only be inaugurated 7 days after being proclaimed victor, he is due to hold a celebratory rally on Tuesday.
The opposition side which cried foul almost throughout the vote count is, however, not feeling very celebratory.
Opposition protesters hit the street to protest against the President’s re-election and Zambian police have consequently arrested 133 of these opposition protesters. They claim, along with defeated rival, Hakainde Hichilema, that the vote was rigged in the favor of the President.
Southern province police chief Godwin Phiri told Reuters that “They targeted perceived supporters of the ruling party, destroying their property”. He also said that;
“It is like this was well planned and they were just waiting for the winner to be declared. Calm has now returned following the arrests,”
United Party for National Development (UPND), the party which Hichilema ran under has said that they will appeal the result at the Constitutional Court. They accuse the election officials of fraud during the count which began after voting ended last Thursday.
A statement by Hichilema made late on Monday saw him declaring that “The PF has effected a coup on Zambia’s democratic process”. He added that they had submitted data on irregularities;
“We submitted evidence before the declaration of the results regarding the gross irregularities that have taken place. That is why we will not accept the result.”
Zambia is regarded as one of Africa’s most stable democracies and although there were skirmishes during campaigning, their currency, the kwacha strengthened 2.5 percent on Tuesday, in a sign investors welcomed an outright winner in the election.
The ruling party and the electoral commission have already rejected the UPND’s charge, so the opposition protesters may be fighting a lost battle.