Zambians vote in national election
Lusaka - Zambians began voting on Tuesday in national elections to choose their leaders for the next five years, in what analysts say will be a tight race for the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy.
"We're anxious, we want to vote," said JJ Mulenga, a 58-year-old retired army officer, who was one of the first in line at the polling station in Bauleni, a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital, Lusaka.
The election pits President Rupiah Banda of the MMD against Michael Sata, the leader of the main opposition Patriotic Front (PF).
Banda, who has presided over one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa - 7.6% last year and 6.4% the year before according to the IMF - has campaigned on a platform of growth and development.
Sata, a fiery nationalist, whose biting rhetoric earned him the nickname "King Cobra", has attacked Banda as soft on corruption and criticised him for failing to do more to spread the wealth in a country where 64% of people still live on less than $2 a day.
The PF says if elected they will crack down on corruption and bring back a windfall tax on mining firms in a bid to help more Zambians benefit from the country's huge copper reserves.
Zambia last year was the largest copper producer in Africa and the seventh-largest in the world.
About 5.2 million voters are registered to take part in the presidential, parliamentary and local elections.