Supporters of Zambian presidential candidate, Hakainde Hichlema of the United Party for National Development (UPND), on Saturday chanted ‘Mugabe Must Go’ in Lusaka at their base, nearly 16 hours after the Zimbabwean leader arrived in the country ahead of the announcement of the presidential election results.
A video posted on the web and Facebook by Nehanda TV and UPND showed a huge crowd at Radisson Blu Hotel appeared to have been irked by the arrival of Mr. Robert Mugabe in the country before the announcement of the results indicating that Patriotic Front presidential candidate Edgar Lungu is leading the race.
President Mugabe, who is the chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and has been in power in Zimbabwe for almost 35 years, left for Zambia less than a day after he arrived in his country from a month-long holiday in Asia.
The ruling Zanu PF party has close ties with the Patriotic Front, once led by the late Zambian president Michael Sata, who died last year.
Zimbabwe has over the years held controversial elections, which some believe were rigged by the state machinery in favour of President Mugabe’s party that has dismissed these allegations as baseless.
The southern African nation is on the verge of an economic meltdown due what observers say is lack of foreign direct investment, a highly-feared indigenization law seeking the transfer of majority shares of foreign companies to blacks, inconsistent economic policies and other factors.
In a statement, the UPND leader said a stolen election does not reflect the will of the people and is not going to deliver.
“As you know we’ve yet to hear the final few constituencies announced by the Electoral Commission of Zambia, however it is with deep regret that we now already know the predetermined result. They intend to announce victory for PF candidate, Edgar Lungu.”
Hichlema said his party will always respect the views of the people they seek to serve as the UPND is built upon upholding the country’s key democratic values and transparency.
However, he said, what they have seen unfold over the last few days could not have been further away from the democratic process they aspire to uphold and the results announced do not reflect accurately the voting numbers that occurred on the 20th January 2015.
“This election has been a sham and does not reflect the will of the majority of Zambians. If Edgar Lungu is sworn in as president he will certainly be an illegitimate president going by what we have discovered at the (Electoral Commission of Zambia) ECZ. Edgar Lungu truly knows that the results that have been given to him by individuals at the ECZ are not from the citizens who voted.
“Those individuals, who are less than twenty at ECZ, have to bear the burden of over 14 millions Zambians. We in the UPND, together with our partners and ordinary citizens, will be watching closely and we will be ready to win another election in 20 months time under a new constitution. Despite the fact that the election was stolen from us, I urge all our party members and supporters across our country to remain calm and peaceful for the good of Zambia.”