Zambia’s President Lungu’s inauguration has been postponed until the court rules on the challenge made by his rival against his election win.
President Lungu’s inauguration will be postponed due to a new rule which was introduced in January. The rule does not permit the winner of an election to be sworn in if the election is challenged in court.
On Monday, the result of the Zambian election was published. It showed President Lungu narrowly winning against his closest rival, Hakainde Hichilema. President Lungu won by 50.35 percent of the vote against Hichilema who garnered only 47.63 percent of votes.
Despite the slim margin by which President Lungu won, he still met up to the new standard which places a 50 percent minimum of votes to be garnered by the winner of the election in order to prevent a run-off vote.
Opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema is challenging the result based on alleged fraud conducted by the Zambia electoral commission in favor of President Lungu and his Patriotic Front Party.
The opposition believes this occurred during the vote counting process which took longer than expected. This led to members of Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) withdrawin from the vote-counting process.
Many protesters took to the streets despite the Zambian election watch urging them not to, but rather taking it to court. Hichilema chose to take the latter route by challenging the election result in court.
The court is given two weeks to decide on a ruling.
President Lungu explained to his supporters at a victory rally in Lusaka:
“We will have to wait before I am sworn in because I am told some people have gone to court. The courts of law are our creature and so the courts should be given latitude to make decisions.”