Lusaka - The EU election observation mission has said it is happy with voter turnout during Zambia’s recent presidential elections, the Lusaka Times reported on Friday.
The mission’s chief observer, Cecile Kyenge, said approximately half of all polling stations nationwide opened on time, while the remainder opened about an hour later.
“We are happy to see so many people coming to vote. It shows that Zambians understand the importance of elections, and they value their democratic rights” Kyenge stated.
He commended the peaceful demeanour of voters and said participants exercised their freedom to vote without undue restriction and violence around stations.
While Zambians awaited the first election results on Friday, the polls were deemed one of the closest contests in the country’s recent history. President Edgar Lungu had said he would stand down should he lose to his main rival, Hakainde Hichilema.
The Post reported that Lungu had said he would happily concede defeat and retire to his home in Chamawa should he be voted out of power.
Hichilema, a businessman and economist, previously claimed he was more qualified to lead the Southern African nation than Lungu. He accused Lungu of mismanaging the nation's economy and threatening the opposition.
Lungu had said that after being in office for just a year-and-a-half, he needed more time to diversify the country's wealth.
Reuters reported that the Electoral Commission of Zambia would announce the results by early Sunday, at the latest.