UPND, PF in tight Mangango race

THE opposition UPND and the Patriotic Front last night took giant electoral steps towards victory when they broke from other competitors in the counting of the Mangango parliamentary  by-election votes whose final results will be announced today by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) .

 The counting of the ballots started few minutes after the voting period closed at around 18:00 hours and sympathizers of parties which participated in the election gathered at different polling stations waiting for the results.

By press time around 21:30 hours the results from four polling stations had put the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) ahead with its candidate Rodgers Lingweshi polling 750 votes while UPND candidate Godwin Putu was in the second position with 684 ballots.

At Mutondo Primary School polling station PF poured 72 votes, UPND had 150, ADD collected 22 while MMD managed 36, 4th Republican Party and United National Independence Party (UNIP) had one each. At Namibwe polling station, PF scooped 75, UPND 32, UNIP 10, ADD and 4th Republican Party got one vote with MMD earning zero. At Chilombo polling station, PF had 233 votes, UPND 192, MMD 17,UNIP and ADD seven each with 4th Republican Party two votes. At Mangango stream A, PF scooped 131 votes, UPND 115, ADD 15, MMD five and UNIP 11. At Mangango stream B PF got 130 votes, UPND 99, ADD 14, UNIP nine and MMD three while at Mangango stream C PF led with 109 votes, UPND 96, ADD 20, UNIP seven and MMD five.

Southern Africa Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) Theresa Chewe said the voting process was peaceful and there were no incidences of violence.  Ms Chewe said counting of ballot papers commenced immediately after the polling stations closed few minutes after 18:00 hours and that supporters of various political were anxious to know the final results.

“Largely most of most polling stations closed at 18:00 hours except for a few that opened later in the morning,” he said.  Mr Chewe also said that earlier yesterday a gang of cadres armed with pangas were spotted near one of the polling stations sending away voters, but the police swiftly interfered and managed to control the situation.