January 17, 2015


Tight race as Zambians pick Sata's successor ()
Zambian analyst Boniface Cheembe believes that the split experienced within the ruling party gave the opposition parties a head start for their campaigns. "The disunity within the ruling PF did contribute to the huge momentum that the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) is currently experiencing," he said. It is because of this (PF) split that the UPND have been able to get a number of endorsements that have put them in a core position to compete favorably and at least be in a position to even form the next government, Cheembe told DW.

Although there are eleven candidates nominated for the presidential by-election, the main battle is between Lungu of the ruling PF, Hakainde Hichilema of the UPND and Nevers Mumba of the former governing MMD. Elischer thinks Hichilema is the second strongest contender after Lungu.

Lungu told French news agency AFP that, if elected, he would like to bring all sides into government. "I want to form a government which will be very inclusive including former PF members, opposition politicians, and even those within the PF who viciously opposed my candidacy." He said he now wants the party and the country to move beyond the politics of ethnicity to a national identity.

DW correspondent Kathy Sikombe said most Zambians are hoping for a better economy with good standards of living and more job opportunities for the youth. She adds that the people are looking forward to a review of the constitution which is going to be "people driven." [...]

Cheembe said the race is very tight and that the electorate cannot tell who might win. "When [candidates] are asked what they will do when they lose, none of them seems to want to conceive that there is a possibility of losing." According to Cheembe, the two front runners, that is PF and UPND, believe they will win the first round of voting.

Zambians have shown a high level of interest during the campaigns. Huge numbers turned up for the political rallies held by the different political parties. "I think from those numbers, Zambians appear to be very engaged and wanting to listen to the messages and ideas from their candidates and they have been participating", Cheembe said, adding that in the rural areas there was less interest in the elections as it is the planting season.

Posted by at January 17, 2015 7:39 AM

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