Zambia vote: Opposition claims victory

APA-Lusaka (Zambia)

Vote-counting has been underway since Thursday's watershed general elections in Zambia where the main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema maintains that his United Party for National Development is poised for victory.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia said it would restart announcing the results from across the country.

The announcement of the poll outcome was paused following concerns that some of the results had not been verified by the electoral commission. 

The outcome of the presidential poll is expected to be known by Sunday, ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano said.

Hichilema has, however, claimed victory, telling supporters that “change is here”.  

“Data coming in is very positive and the will of the people is clear. But be alert – when an outgoing regime panics, it can resort to desperate measures,” the opposition leader wrote on microblogging site Twitter on Friday. 

He called on his supporters to “stay calm and focused.” 

The vote counting is taking place against the backdrop of a government disruption to the internet, which users said affected several social media sites. 

President Edgar Lungu on Thursday said election-day violence had killed two people -- including the chairman of his party in North-Western province.

In a statement, he said he had directed the army commander "to quickly re-enforce security in North-Western, some parts of Western, and Southern provinces where this unprecedented violence is taking place".

"I will not take kindly to these evil schemes... How can you talk about free and fair elections when our opponents have taken this election as war?" he said.

Millions of Zambians turned out to vote for a president, national assembly representatives and local government councillors on Thursday.


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