Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was on Monday declared winner of Zambia’s presidential election, ending days of heightened political tension triggered by incumbent President Edgar Lungu’s claim that the vote was not free and fair.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) said Hichilema secured 2,810,777 votes against 1,814,201 for Lungu who came second in a field of 17 presidential candidates. The tally was after votes had been counted and verified in 155 of the country’s 156 constituencies.
"I, therefore, declare that the said Hichilema to be president of Zambia," ECZ chairman Esau Chulu said on Monday.
Lungu had refused to concede defeat at the weekend, claiming in a statement on Saturday that the election was "not free and fair" following incidents of violence against officials from his Patriotic Front party in some provinces.
This was the sixth time Hichilema had run for the presidency and the third time he had challenged Lungu. He narrowly missed the ticket to State House in 2016 when he lost to Lungu by about 100,000 votes.