Zambian Defense Minister Wins Presidential Election

Zambian Defense Minister Wins Presidential ElectionZambian Defense Minister Wins Presidential Election

Zambia’s presidential election has been won by Defense and Justice Minister Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front. Lungu won by a 48.3 percent majority, the election commission said, after an election race marred by delays.

His rival, Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development, who earlier denounced Tuesday’s election as a sham, came close with 46.7 percent of the vote, BBC reported.

The election was called after the death of President Michael Sata last October. Lungu, who was sworn in on Sunday, said he aims to complete economic development projects begun by his predecessor.

He also saluted his predecessor in his inaugural speech and added that he was “humbled to be trusted by the people of Zambia” to hold his position.

Lungu has promised political stability and to continue program introduced by Sata, including a contentious resources tax that has put the government of the copper-rich southern African nation at loggerheads with miners.

However, Hichilema called the election “stolen,” accusing the electoral commission of manipulating the results to favor Lungu, a former lawyer.

In the interim period following Sata’s death, Zambia was ruled by Guy Scott, a white Zambian of Scottish descent. He was prohibited from contesting the election because his parents were not born in Zambia.

Scott was the first white president in mainland Africa for 20 years and has been involved in Zambian politics since the 1990s. Though he was close to Sata and served as his running mate, his relationship with Lungu is less cordial.