SPONTANEOUS and euphoric celebrations broke out throughout the country after the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chairperson Esau Chulu, declared President Edgar Chagwa Lungu victor of the Thursday nail-biting, and nerve-wracking presidential contest with UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
In Lusaka multitudes thronged the streets with some crowds marching to State House, others to the Heroes Stadium where they demanded to be addressed by President Lungu.
At State House both lanes of independence avenue were blocked as jubilant supporters demanded to be addressed by the President whom they wanted to install instantly.
Speaking to the large crowd, President Lungu said it was time for the nation to move on as ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ and to work to heal the divisions that had so polarised the country and highlighted serious tribal voting patterns.
The declaration of President Edgar Lungu as President literally brought down the house at Mulungushi as the Patriotic Front (PF) led deafening and prolonged victory jubilations, virtually drowning the announcement by Justice Chulu.
President Lungu won by 50.35 percent, with 1,860,877 votes well above the 50percent +1 vote threshold demanded by the Constitution, while Mr. Hichilema in spite of his astonishingly large votes in Southern Province was trailing at 47.6 percent and 1,760,300 votes.
Meanwhile, as counting progressed at Mulungushi International Conference Centre, the UPND, through lawyers Jacob Mwimbu and Martha Mushipe, made frantic attempts to block the release of results from Lusaka and Kanyama constituency in particular.
More than twice, Mr Hichilema stormed the ECZ results centre, demanding the halting of the announcement of results on allegations that the ECZ had colluded with the governing party to manipulate the results.
On Saturday, Mr Hichilema’s legal team attempted to stop the announcing of the results through a court injunction, but High Court Judge Florence Lengalenga refused to grant them the injunction but agreed to an inter-parte hearing scheduled for Wednesday this week.
On Sunday night at around 23.00 hours Mr. Hichilema held a press briefing at his residence, claiming his vote had been stolen.
President Lungu is today expected to hold a victory rally at Woodlands Stadium at 12.00 hours, to thank God and the people of Zambia, for entrusting him with the stewardship of the nation.
Mr. Hichilema is expected to file papers challenging Mr. Lungu’s election in the Constitutional Court this morning.
This is the 5th time that Mr. Hichilema is losing a bid at the presidency, having lost in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016.