Politics

Long queues as Zambians vote in general election

President Edgar Lungu, who faces a stiff challenge from opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, was among the first people to vote as polls opened in the capital Lusaka

Voting began in Zambia’s general elections early on Thursday morning, with long queues reported in some polling stations.

President Edgar Lungu, who faces a stiff challenge from opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, was among the first people to vote as polls opened in the capital Lusaka. There are 14 other presidential candidates in the race.

“We are winning, otherwise I wouldn’t have been in the race if we were not winning,” President Lungu told journalists after voting, noting that Zambians had “come in to vote in numbers”.

The country’s electoral commission has said it will announce the results of the elections within 72 hours.

The vote is coming amid a worsening economy with the youth demanding better prospects including more job opportunities.

Military deployment

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu last week  ordered the deployment of the military to suppress electoral violence ahead of the 12 August general elections – amid criticism by the opposition and other groups.

“I have allowed the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force and Zambia National Service to help the Zambia Police in dealing with the security situation,” Mr Lungu said.

He said troops had already been deployed to some areas in the capital Lusaka and would be sent to other areas in the country “if the situation demands so”.

At least two people have been killed in pre-election violence in the Southern African country ahead of polls this month.

The All People’s Congress (APC) party says the move to involve the army is intended to cause “fear and intimidation” among the opposition.

There have been incidents of violence by ruling party and opposition supporters across the country in the run-up to the vote.

The president, in deploying the army, cited the killing of two ruling party supporters in the capital, saying he would not allow that to be repeated elsewhere in the country.

The electoral body has said it is investigating the incident and will take action against those found responsible.

The president is running for a second term in the elections. His main opponent is Hakainde Hichilema who has unsuccessfully contested for the presidency five times.

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Source
BBC
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