Wednesday, August 24, 2016


President Edgar Lungu has once again defeated UPND leader Hakainde Ichilema during the 11 August presidential and general elections by a slim margin of 100,530 votes. Lungu polled a total of 1,860,877 votes against Ichilema who polled 1,760,347. the overall voting pattern is the repeat of the 2015 presidential by-election in the sense that both leaders managed to retain their traditional political strongholds, viz. Ichilema received 75% of the votes in Southern, Western and North-Western Provinces, whereas Lungu was massively in Wapula, Northern, Eastern, Lusaka and Copperfield Provinces.

The victory condemns Mr. Ichilema to his fifth successive loss while extending the PF’s rule to 10 years.

The elections were held under a new constitution which required the victor secures 50% plus one vote to avoid a re-run. Lungu polled 50.4% against Ichilema’s 47.63%. The other remaining opposition politicians polled less than 1% of the votes cast.

Lungu’s triumph under the glare of international election observers and monitors is the confirmation that the PF’s pro-poor policies have not worked to the satisfaction of all Zambians – especially those who dwell in rural areas.

Indeed, after an intense campaign period and four days of anxious waiting for the final election results, Zambians poured into the streets in a wild orgy of celebrations when it was announced that Lungu had won the elections – reminiscent of 2011 when the late president Saba had defeated the former MMD leader Rupiah Banda.

Overzealous crowds sing the chorus for the now popular vernacular song “Dununa Reverse”, which had become the PF campaign slogan. With the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, such as cooking oil and meali meal – life remains still bleak along the line of rail and the capital city Lusaka for the workers, peasants and students.

Looking the seemingly small margin of the votes that separates the two presidential contenders the victory does not paint a rosy picture for the political future of the pf. It is now more certain than eve before the PF under the leadership of President Lungu is no longer a popular political party it claims to be.

Because the political campaigns preceding the elections, characterised by political hooliganism and intimidation between PF and the UPND. Celebrations heights ethnic sentiments directed against tribes who hail from regions that had unanimously voted for UPND leader Ichilema, viz. Tonga, Lozi, Kaouda, Laniba, and Luvale.

Zambia remains a divided country in terms of the voting patterns which emerged after the elections, with the traditional UPND and PF political strongholds remaining separate despite the massive economic and social programmes taking place in Southern, Western and North-Western Provinces.

The now seemingly entrenched ethnic and regional voting patterns speaks large about what motivates the way people vote in rural village communities. It is now apparent that residents in rural areas do mostly vote for a political leader to whom they have close ethnic and tribal affinities – regardless of his political credentials.

Despite having won a resounding victory above 50% Lungu came out in the open and expressed his reservations about the divisive regional voting patterns. Even before the Electoral Commission of Zambia had announced the final election results, UPND leader Ichilema stormed the facility to express his consternation in the manner the votes were tabulated. He had raised a court injunction disputing the election results.

The ruling PF suffered some political causalities in the sense that at least eight former PF ministers have lost the parliamentary seats while for the first time some ten independent candidates won the elections.

Among those who lost their parliamentary seats was the PF defence minister Richwell Siyamunene, who failed to retain his Sinazougwe seat in Southern Province. He had resigned from the UPND when he was appointed as defence minister in 2015 by Lungu. He was mobbed irate Tonga-speaking UPND political cadres and badly assaulted after having lost the election.

Indeed, the celebrations for Lungu’s victory taking place in the Copperbelt and Lusaka was reciprocated by indecent attacks against PF supporters in South Province by UPND political cadres.

Alarm bells are ringing more loudly for the future political destiny of the PF in the sense that once again the PF has failed to penetrate the UPND political strongholds of Western, Southern and North-Western Provinces. In fact it is supposed to be the indefatigable  UPND leader Ichilema who should be celebrating for having given Lungu a close and gruelling fight.


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