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Zambia: Vote counting in progress, opposition claims victory

Zambians will on Friday partially know the outcome of Thursday's watershed general elections as main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema claimed…

Zambians will on Friday partially know the outcome of Thursday’s watershed general elections as main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema claimed that his United Party for National Development is poised to sweep to victory.The Electoral Commission of Zambia said it would start announcing results from across the country as the begin to trickle in from various constituencies. 

The outcome of the presidential poll is expected to be know 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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