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Zambians go to polls today

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ZAMBIANS go to the polls today to elect a new President following the death of Michael Sata last October.

Elias Mambo
IN LUSAKA, ZAMBIA

The elections are, however, unique in the sense that this time there is a semblance of democracy and fairness from the way the candidates are campaigning and the way voting material was being handled.

Opposition parties have been allowed to freely inspect the voters’ roll and campaign in all provinces without hindrance from the State.
Printing of ballot papers remains an open process involving all stakeholders.

Spokesperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chris Akufuna said the invitation of the political parties and others to observe the printing of the ballot papers was part of ECZ’s efforts to ensure transparency.

“We are involving the stakeholders from the beginning as a way of building confidence in the process and as a demonstration that the commission has nothing to hide,” Akufuna said.

He added that all political parties will receive, inspect and
verify the shipment of the ballot papers from South Africa when they arrive in Zambia before they are distributed nationwide for the vote.

Eleven candidates are contesting the elections with Hakainde Hichilema, leader of Zambia’s main opposition United Party
for National Development, and ruling Patriotic Front party candidate Edgar Lungu touted as front runners.

Whoever wins the election will have little time to implement major programmes, with the term due to last only about 20 months to fill in for the late Sata, with another round of presidential elections in 2016.

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