2011 Zambian general election

General elections were held in Zambia on 20 September 2011,[1] electing a President and members of the National Assembly.[2] Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) won the presidential elections, defeating incumbent Rupiah Banda of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), and was sworn into office on 23 September. The PF emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly, winning 60 of the 148 seats decided on election day.

2011 Zambian general election

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  Michael Sata (cropped).jpg Rupiah Banda.jpg
Nominee Michael Sata Rupiah Banda
Party PF MMD
Popular vote 1,170,966 987,866
Percentage 42.85% 36.15%

2011 Zambia Presidential Election Results by Constituency.svg

President before election

Rupiah Banda


Michael Sata


Incumbent President Rupiah Banda, of the ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy party, ran for his first full term as president after replacing Levy Mwanawasa, who died in August 2008.[3]

Michael Sata was the candidate of the Patriotic Front and Hakainde Hichilema was the candidate of the United Party for National Development.[4]

With Chinese companies investing US$2 billion by the end of 2010 in the Zambian economy, the status of Chinese business ties with Zambia, Africa's largest copper producer, grew significantly. Early in his campaign, Sata accused the Chinese mining firms of having slave-like labour conditions and ignoring safety standards and local cultural practices.[5] He has been nicknamed "King Cobra" because of his harsh rhetoric, but he later toned down his rhetoric against the mostly Chinese foreign mining firms.[6]


Two days before the results were officially announced, the High Court banned three independent media outlets[which?] from publishing speculation on the result after The Post published a headline reading "Sata Heads for Victory." The same day, Banda's office also said that such reports were "rumours" as no final result had been compiled. The delay in announcing the results was the cause of riots in Ndola and Kitwe, where youths fought with riot police while also burning vehicles and markets. Additionally, hackers attacked the Election Commission's website that night and posted false results suggesting Sata won by a landslide.[5][7]

European Union electoral observers said that the election was "generally well administered," but that there was not equitable access to resources, resulting in the lack of a "level playing field" in the campaign. They said that state-owned media had failed to meet "even their minimal obligations as public service media."[8]

The Zambian-based Foundation for Democratic Process criticised the holding of the election without electoral reform. It blamed the history of electoral violence and the previous failure of the losing parties to accept losing on the lack of reform.[9] While many called for the establishment of a 50% + 1 vote system for electing the president, the government said a new system would not be used for the election.[10]


On 23 September, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala announced Sata the winner of the election with 1,150,045 votes, or 43%, with 95.3% of votes counted. Banda received 961,796 votes, or 36.1%, and other minor parties trailed in the poll.[5][11] Sata was sworn into office later that day


Michael SataPatriotic Front1,170,96642.85
Rupiah BandaMovement for Multi-Party Democracy987,86636.15
Hakainde HichilemaUnited Party for National Development506,76318.54
Charles MilupiAlliance for Democracy and Development26,2700.96
Elias Chipimo JrNational Restoration Party10,6720.39
Tilyenji KaundaUnited National Independence Party9,9500.36
Edith NawakwiForum for Democracy and Development6,8330.25
Ng'andu Peter MagandeNational Movement for Progress6,3440.23
Godfrey MiyandaHeritage Party4,7300.17
Frederick MutesaZambians for Empowerment and Development2,2680.08
Valid votes2,732,66298.57
Invalid/blank votes39,6021.43
Total votes2,772,264100.00
Registered voters/turnout5,167,15453.65
Source: ECZ

National AssemblyEdit

Voting did not take place in two constituencies (Magoye and Nakonde) on polling day due to deaths of candidates,[12] and the elected member for Chongwe (Japhen Mwakalombe of the MMD) resigned before taking his seat. By-elections were held for all three seats on 24 November 2011, with the PF winning two (Chongwe and Nakonde) and the UPND one (Magoye).

Patriotic Front1,037,10838.4260+17
Movement for Multi-Party Democracy902,61933.4455−17
United Party for National Development464,52717.2128
Alliance for Democracy and Development33,0571.221New
Forum for Democracy and Development20,2430.751
United National Independence Party18,4460.680
National Movement for Progress11,8280.440New
National Restoration Party4,6880.170New
Zambians for Empowerment and Development3,0590.110New
New Generation Party6570.0200
National Revolution Party5050.020New
Heritage Party4850.0200
Unified Party for Democracy and Development3080.010New
National Party1930.0100
Zambia Direct Democracy Movement1770.0100
Zambian Conservative Party1680.010New
All People's Congress Party1390.0100
Citizens' Democratic Party1370.0100
United Liberal Party1310.000–3
Federal Democratic Party270.0000
Presidential appointees80
Appointed Speaker10
Valid votes2,699,59198.68
Invalid/blank votes36,1321.32
Total votes2,735,723100.00
Registered voters/turnout5,101,31253.63
Source: ECZ (votes), ECZ (seats)


Sata received a congratulatory telephone call from his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.[13] While in the 2006 election China had threatened to cut diplomatic relations with Zambia if Sata was elected, due to his criticisms of Chinese mining interests in the country,[14] China issued a statement "welcoming" the result.[13]


Psephologists suggested that the youth vote helped anti-incumbency in a continent that rarely results in an anti-incumbent vote. They also drew parallels with the 2011 ousting of the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt.[5] As a result of Sata's rhetoric, there were also concerns about the future investment climate in the country.[6] Other readings said that after Sata toned down his rhetoric he did not differ much from Banda, but benefited from a crowded ballot of candidates.[15] Psephologists also indicated that Sata did well in the urban areas, while Banda was expected to do well in the rural areas.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "It's September 20!". The Times. Zambia. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Zambia: Luwingu backs Rupiah’s candidature in 2011 Archived 6 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine Lusaka Times, 23 November 2010
  4. ^ Redvers, Louise (19 September 2011). "China's stake in Zambia's election". BBC News. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d "Opposition leader wins Zambia election – Africa". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b Mfula, Chris (22 May 2008). "King Cobra Sata wins Zambia presidential race". Reuters. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Zambia poll: Riots in Kitwe and Ndola over slow results". BBC News. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Opposition Leader Sata Declared Winner of Zambia Election". VOA News. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  9. ^ Zambia: Holding elections under current constitution is a mockery – FODEP Lusaka Times, 19 November 2010
  10. ^ "50% + 1 won’t be used in 2011" Archived 11 September 2012 at the Wayback MachineKunda] Post, Zambia, 19 November 2010
  11. ^ "Zambia's Incumbent President Concedes Defeat Following Election". FoxNews.com. AP. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  12. ^ Zambia General Elections, 20 September 2011: Report of the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Observer Group
  13. ^ a b "Zambia's "King Cobra" Sata sworn in as president". Reuters. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  14. ^ "Michael Sata: Zambia's 'King Cobra' finally strikes". BBC News. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  15. ^ "Challenger Michael Sata wins Zambia presidential elections". The Times of India. AP. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.

External linksEdit