Zambian voters have expressed frustration at the electoral commission’s delays in announcing results. Votes continue to trickle in and with less than half the votes counted. Incumbent Edgar Lungu is leading with 699 960. Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has 644 132 votes.
Voters say they are tired of waiting for the announcement of the results.
In Kalingalinga township on the outskirts of the central business district, a group of voters are analysing the few results posted outside a polling station.
The electoral commission has postponed the announcements yet again. It blames an unexpectedly high voter turnout and failure to deliver forms to certify results at some local polling stations for the delay.
One and a half million new voters registered to take part in the polls. For first time voters, the excitement has turned to frustration.
“We didn’t expect this to take so long, but I think they are just trying to bring our feelings down so that our expectations are lowered to avoid violence. Not trying to delay us. They just want us to cool down,” says one new voter.
“I am anxious because I want to know whether the person I voted for has won,” says another.
Riot police patrols have stepped up their presence and patrols around the national results centre as the country witnesses one of the tightest presidential races in its history.
The election is seen as a test for one of Southern Africa’s oldest and most stable democracies.
In successive elections, the wait for presidential results has become longer and longer. In the 2015 presidential by-election opposition supporters took to the streets to protest the delays.
As Zambians wait, they hope the outcome of this election will end peacefully.