2021 Zambian general election

General elections were held in Zambia on 12 August 2021 to elect the President, National Assembly, mayors, council chairs and councillors. Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development was elected president, defeating incumbent Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front.[1][2]

2021 Zambian general election

← 2016 12 August 2021 2026 →
Presidential election
Turnout70.61% (Increase 14.16 pp)
Nominee Hakainde Hichilema Edgar Lungu
Running mate Mutale Nalumango Nkandu Luo
Popular vote 2,852,348 1,870,780
Percentage 59.02% 38.71%

President before election

Edgar Lungu

Elected President

Hakainde Hichilema

National Assembly election

156 of the 167 seats in the National Assembly
85 seats needed for a majority
Party Leader % Seats +/–
UPND Hakainde Hichilema 46.22 82 +24
PF Edgar Lungu 35.70 60 −20
PNUP Highvie Hamududu 0.27 1 +1
Independents 14.31 13 −1
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Speaker of the National Assembly before Speaker of the National Assembly after
Patrick Matibini
Nelly Mutti

On 16 August, Lungu conceded in a televised statement, sending a letter and congratulating Hichilema.[3][4]

Electoral system edit

The President is elected via the two-round system.[5] Of the 167 members of the National Assembly, 156 are elected by the first-past-the-post system in single-member constituencies, with a further eight appointed by the President and three others being ex-officio members: the Vice President, the Speaker and a deputy speaker elected from outside the National Assembly (a second deputy speaker is chosen from among the elected members). The minimum voting age is 18, whilst National Assembly candidates must be at least 21.[6]

Candidates edit

A total of sixteen candidates registered to run for the presidency. The race was expected to be a close race between Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front and Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development. Both competed in the 2016 presidential elections, which Lungu won by a margin of 50.35% to 47.63%.[7]

Registered candidates[8][9][10][11]
Presidential candidate Running mate Party
1. Edgar Lungu Nkandu Luo Patriotic Front
2. Enock Tonga Bright Chomba 3rd Liberation Movement
3. Sean Enock Tembo Henry Muleya Patriots For Economic Progress
4. Andyford Banda Gerald Mulao People’s Alliance For Change
5. Chishala Kateka Samuel Kasanka New Heritage Party
6. Kasonde Mwenda Changala Siame Economic Freedom Fighters
7. Stephen Nyirenda Lucy Changwe National Restoration Party
8. Lazarus Chisela Rosemary Chivumba Zambians United For Sustainable Development
9. Richard Silumbe Kaela Kamwenshe Leadership Movement
10. Highvie Hamududu Kasote Singogo Party of National Unity and Progress
11. Fred M'membe Cosmas Musumali Socialist Party
12. Harry Kalaba Judith Kabemba Democratic Party
13. Hakainde Hichilema Mutale Nalumango United Party for National Development
14. Nevers Mumba Reuben Sambo Movement for Multi-Party Democracy
15. Charles Chanda Simon Mbulu United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia
16. Trevor Mwamba John Harawa United National Independence Party

Campaign edit

On 15 May 2021, Electoral Commission of Zambia chair Esau Chulu launched the start of the election campaign.[12][13] However politicians were advised to minimise large crowd gatherings during campaign meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Assembly was dissolved on 12 May by President Edgar Lungu to provide a level playing field in the campaign.[14] However, Lungu remains in office as per constitutional requirements.[15]

Violence and virus cases rise edit

On 26 May Lungu launched his own campaign. He also directed the police service and Ministry of Health to ensure enforcement of the COVID-19 pandemic health regulations and guidelines without fear or favour.[16] On 3 June, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, the Electoral Commission suspended campaign rallies again to avoid large crowds.[17] On 15 June, the Electoral Commission banned the Patriotic Front and United Party for National Development from campaigning in Lusaka, Mpulungu, Namwala and Nakonde due to political violence. The Commission also banned all roadshows across the country to curb the transmission of COVID-19.[18] On 1 August Lungu ordered the deployment of the military to help the police fight escalating political violence during the campaign.[19][20]

On 28 July UPND Secretary General Batuke Imenda released a statement that the party was disappointed with government institutions being used by President Lungu to block UPND presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema from campaigning.[21] On 30 July, Hichilema and his campaign team were prevented from entering Chipata and detained on the runway of Chipata Airport. Before Hichilema's arrival in Chipata, police had teargassed his supporters.[22] On 3 August, police in Mbala blocked Hichilema and his campaign team from entering the town, with police claiming that he needed a permit to enter.[23][24]

Campaign tactics edit

Hichilema heavily criticised Lungu, claiming he had used state power to interfere with the elections.[25] In a campaign video, Hichilema portrayed Lungu as a morally corrupt individual with a history of monetary mismanagement, while portraying himself as fiscally responsible.[26]

Conduct edit

Three days before the elections the government openly stated there was a possibility of an internet shutdown if citizens failed to use cyberspace responsibly during the electoral process.[27][28] In response to the initial report, Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga promptly issued a statement dismissing the claims as malicious. However, there was a subsequent reversal in Malupenga's stance, as he admitted that an internet shutdown was a viable option. He emphasised the government's stance on preventing the abuse of cyberspace and warned of potential inconveniences if individuals were found to be engaging in misconduct. Malupenga stressed that the government would invoke relevant legal provisions to maintain law and order and ensure peace and stability during the election period.[29]

On 12 August numerous Twitter users took to the platform to express concerns about the apparent shutdown of popular social media and messaging apps such as Messenger, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in the country.[30][31][32] This caused a significant impact as it hindered the flow of information and communication on a vital day for democratic processes.[33] Reports surfaced that internet users resorted to using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services as a workaround to bypass the restrictions imposed on WhatsApp and various social media platforms. Despite these efforts to maintain connectivity, the situation raised questions about the accessibility and freedom of expression during the election period.[34][35]

In response to the claims, Malupenga refuted the reports, dismissing them as "malicious." He emphasized the government's stance on responsible internet usage, stating that the government would not tolerate any abuse of the internet. Malupenga went on to caution that if any misconduct occurred, the government reserved the right to take legal action to prevent any potential disruption of law and order, particularly during the sensitive election period. His remarks underscored the government's commitment to ensuring a secure and orderly electoral process. Despite Malupenga's statements, the restrictions on social media platforms persisted, creating a challenging environment for citizens to freely express their views and share information. The ongoing limitations on these platforms added an additional layer of complexity to an already tense election period, sparking concerns about the implications for freedom of speech and information dissemination in the country.[36][33]

Results edit

On 16 August Hakainde Hichilema was declared president-elect of Zambia.[2] At the time of the announcement, 155 out of Zambia's 156 constituencies had been counted, with only Mandevu constituency still to declare. As the votes in that constituency were insufficient to affect the outcome, the electoral commission announced Hichilema's victory.[37] Edgar Lungu conceded defeat shortly after the announcement.[4][3]

President edit

Hakainde HichilemaUnited Party for National Development2,852,34859.02
Edgar LunguPatriotic Front1,870,78038.71
Harry KalabaDemocratic Party25,2310.52
Andyford BandaPeople’s Alliance For Change19,9370.41
Fred M'membeSocialist Party16,6440.34
Highvie HamududuParty of National Unity and Progress10,4800.22
Chishala KatekaNew Heritage Party8,1690.17
Charles ChandaUnited Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia6,5430.14
Lazarus ChiselaZambians United For Sustainable Development5,2530.11
Nevers MumbaMovement for Multi-Party Democracy4,9680.10
Enock Tonga3rd Liberation Movement3,1120.06
Trevor MwambaUnited National Independence Party3,0360.06
Sean Enock TemboPatriots For Economic Progress1,8130.04
Stephen NyirendaNational Restoration Party1,8080.04
Kasonde MwendaEconomic Freedom Fighters1,3450.03
Richard SilumbeLeadership Movement1,2960.03
Valid votes4,832,76397.45
Invalid/blank votes126,5692.55
Total votes4,959,332100.00
Registered voters/turnout7,023,49970.61
Source: ECZ

National Assembly edit

The election in Kaumbwe constituency did not take place on 12 August due to the death of the UPND candidate and was postponed until 21 October 2021.[38]

United Party for National Development2,230,32446.2282+24
Patriotic Front1,722,71835.7060–20
Socialist Party61,3251.270New
Democratic Party50,8861.0500
People's Alliance for Change20,2270.4200
Party of National Unity and Progress13,1780.271+1
United National Independence Party12,7420.2600
Forum for Democracy and Development4,0060.080–1
National Democratic Congress3,8070.080New
Movement for Multi-Party Democracy3,6650.080–3
Leadership Movement3,5850.070New
Christian Democratic Party3,4710.070New
New Heritage Party1,7620.0400
Golden Party Zambia8580.020New
National Restoration Party6640.0100
Zambians United for Sustainable Development5540.010New
Green Party of Zambia4990.0100
United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia3090.010New
Movement for Democratic Change3060.010New
Patriots for Economic Progress2320.000New
Economic Freedom Fighters1040.0000
Appointed and ex-officio11
Valid votes4,825,64097.74
Invalid/blank votes111,7262.26
Total votes4,937,366100.00
Registered voters/turnout7,023,49970.30
Source: ECZ, ECZ, ECZ (Kaumbwe const.)

Reactions edit

Domestic edit

  • On 14 August Edgar Lungu, the incumbent president, declared the elections "not free and fair"[39] and stated they should therefore be nullified.[40] He was pointing to the violence that happened in three provinces during election day when two members were murdered and PF supporters went into hiding.[41] He also added that the governing party polling agents were brutalized and chased from polling stations, a situation that left the ruling party votes unprotected.[42][43] On 16 August Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front conceded and accepted defeat, sending a letter and congratulating president-elect Hichilema.[4][3] Lungu also conceded in a televised statement, "I would like to congratulate my brother Hakainde Hichilema for being elected as the 7th president of mother Zambia".[44]

International edit

  •   European Union: On 14 August the EU Chief observer published a Press Release only commenting on observation undertaken up until the 14th of August.[45] Maria Arena, the Chief Observer, said the election was largely calm and well-administered despite long queues, which shows the devotion of Zambians to exercise their right to vote; however, concerning the campaign, the Chief Observer noted that the campaigns took place in a highly competitive environment, adding that selective application of laws and regulations, misuse of state resources and one-sided media reporting meant that a level playing field was not achieved.[46] The EU EOM is yet to publish its final report, with recommendations for improving the electoral framework for future elections.[45]
  •   African Union: On 14 August the head of the African Union's observer mission, Ernest Bai Koroma said that voting "operations were conducted in a peaceful, transparent and professional manner".[47]
  •   Nigeria: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated President-elect Hakainde Hichilema on his victory. He also commended incumbent president Edgar Lungu for accepting the outcome of the election and a peaceful transfer of power, "noting that this patriotic disposition deserves the praise of all lovers of democracy."[48]
  •   Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa congratulated Hichilema's victory, "I’m so humbled and excited to have received a call and personally congratulated my brother and President-elect Hichilema".[49]
  •   Uganda: Forum for Democratic Change Deputy secretary general Harold Kaija congratulated Hichilema's upon his victory over the incumbent president Edgar Lungu.[50]
  •   South Africa: Both president Cyril Ramaphosa and main opposition leader John Steenhuisen congratulated Hichilema's victory.[51]

References edit

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