Zambia a landlocked country in southern Africa and the second largest producer of copper in Africa will be holding general elections on Thursday, August 11, 2016 to elect the president and national assembly. Zambia which has held multi –party elections since 1991 is considered as one of Africa’s most stable and mature democracies.
President Edgar Lungu, 59, and his governing Patriotic Front (PF) will face the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) led by Hakainde Hichilema. President Lungu who narrowly defeated the opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, 53, in 2015 presidential by-election after the death of then president Michael Sata will be campaigning for reelection .
The Zambians will go to the ballot under new constitutional amendment on presidential elections which require a presidential candidate to have a running mate who will become vice-president and take over in case of a vacuum when a president dies before the end of his five year tenure. In the new constitutional dispensation, the winner must also secure a minimum of one vote more than 50% of the ballots cast.
The current president is facing a hard time to sell his manifesto at a time when the Zambia economy has weakened due to factors such as the depreciation of the local currency against major currencies, global fall of copper prices, high inflation, budget misappropriation and energy crisis.
The final hours of campaign have seen supporters of the two rival parties Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND) clash in the capital city Lusaka. The violence has dented Zambia’s historic record of peaceful elections. All international observer groups who have met Zambia’s electoral commission have called upon the voters and party supporters to hold a peaceful election.
By Simon Achieno.