Edgar Lungu (PF) has won with the margin of around 20,000 - 40,000 or thereabouts according to our projections. Many of you have already been following our Facebook and Twitter updates where we projected this outcome two days ago..
Hakainde Hichilema (UPND) has already conceded defeat in the presidential elections but insists that the elections have been manipulated and stolen from him. He has urged his supporters to remain calm and focus on 2016.
Speaking at a press briefing held at Radisson Blu Hotel this morning, HH says he wont contest the elections results ECZ is about to announce shortly. He instead said his energies will be diverted to the 2016 election campaign.
Four immediate observations. First, these have actually been the most exciting elections that Zambia has ever held. HH is to be commended for being part of that story and for immediately looking forward rather than to the courts.
Secondly, all observers have said this has been the best election Zambia has ever held, perhaps only bettered by 1991. Diplomats have spoken of how proud Zambia should be at how the elections were conducted.
As the Deputy Chief Justice and ECZ Chairperson Irene Mambilima said when dismissing the allegations, "We conducted the poll in an open manner. We witnessed the voting together,we counted together with all parties, we verified together. So if we stole the votes, we stole it together".
Thirdly, following on from the second point, it is unfortunate HH has called the entire election a sham. That undermines the democratic process. It does not strengthen it. Don't throw the baby with the bath water. It is poor leadership.
Finally, and more worrying, it does not appear that HH has recognised just how divisive these ejections have been. UPND only won in three provinces. The elections were close because of higher turn out there.
In short, though UPND's electoral strategy was effective but unpatriotic. They planned to govern Zambia from three provinces. This has deepened the ethnic divide. HH should have used this occasion to acknowledge this and reach out to the other seven provinces.
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2014