Lungu inauguration delayed as opposition take ruling to Constitutional Court

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Lungu inauguration delayed as opposition take ruling to Constitutional Court

President Edgar Lungu’s inauguration will be held back until the Constitutional Court make a ruling on the evidence brought forward by the opposition UPND of electoral malfeasance. Vinesh Parmar reports.

Hakainde Hichilema today released a statement saying, “We will be launching a Constitutional Court petition on the basis of the evidence we have collated and presented to the ECZ.

“The independence of the ECZ has been compromised, after coming under pressure from the PF. We will now place our faith in the Constitutional Court, in the people of Zambia,” the statement continued.

Mr Lungu garnered 50.35% of the total votes, amid accusations of rigging by the opposition. His closest competitor, the UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema won 47.63% of the national ballots in a two horse race. The seven remaining candidates accounted for less than 3%. New election rules required the victor to secure 50 percent plus one of the vote for an outright win.

The opposition have accused the incumbent of altering results in their favour – with the capital Lusaka said to be at the centre of the controversy. 

With the vote split across the country, urban areas would prove decisive in the final outcome and so they did. PF – seen as a party born in the more developed areas – witnessed strong support in the mining heartland of the Copperbelt and what has proved to be the contentious province of the capital, Lusaka.

As results of the 156 constituencies were announced sporadically over the weekend, polls between Lungu and his main rival, Hichilema, were neck and neck. However, cries of foul play from Hichilema – commonly known as HH – were made during the lethargic release of results.

UPND have demanded a recount in the capital Lusaka where they claim results were suspiciously slow to come out. Hichilema’s main area of contention, raised in a statement made late on Saturday evening, was the verification of ballot papers at voting stations in Lusaka.

“The ECZ are working to circumvent their own decision,” he said accusing the electoral commission to be colluding with PF. “There are fake ballots inside the ballot boxes. That’s how you have more ballot papers cast that the registered number of voters.”

Central to this controversy is the ‘Gen 12’ form. A method of allowing political parties to independently assess the credibility of votes tabulated, these forms are meant to be signed by members of the parties to confirm results from polling stations.

A key provision in the process of independent verification, there was a shortage of these forms at voting stations in Lusaka. As a result, pictures of the votes were used as an alternative to official copies of the document.

Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) has also been vocal on the subject of voting discrepancies. Leader Edith Nawakwi questioned the possibility of receiving close to no votes in areas that she has heritage and family ties to. “Are you telling me that even in Mwenzo where I was born where my father lives I can get zero votes?” Nawakwi got 21 votes in the said ward.

“So I think there is someone moving my results taking them to another candidate. Where are my results going?” questioned the only female presidential candidate in this year’s elections.

Samuel Chavula’s arrest has thrown another spanner in the works of the credibility of the electoral process. He was found in the computer server room of the Mulungushi Conference Centre allegedly tampering with results. According to local media reports Chavula works for PF Deputy Chairperson Kelvin Fube Bwalya.

UPND General Secretary Stephen Katuka said, “We also have information to the effect that Mr Chavula may be a Ugandan citizen brought over to assist with voter manipulation efforts.” Zambian police have kept Chavula in custody as investigations are ongoing.

The electoral commission has remained silent on the matter, refusing to engage in question and answer sessions as it was doing prior to vote counting on Friday.

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