Zambian president calls for peace ahead of election

Zambia’s acting President Rupiah Banda on Friday called for peace and unity ahead of next week’s presidential elections, in which he is one of the frontrunners.

Banda urged his compatriots to come out in large numbers and cast their votes next Thursday to elect a replacement for president Levy Mwanawasa, who died on August 19 after suffering a stroke.

“We, therefore, look to the future with hope because even when prophets of doom were predicting chaos following the death of Mwanawasa, Zambians were united in ensuring that the due process of the law is observed as we prepare for his successor,” Banda said.

“Zambia can look to the future with hope because we have enjoyed peace, stability and unity since independence,” Banda said in a speech to mark the 44th anniversary of Zambia’s independence from Britain.

Banda urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia to conduct free and fair elections, amid claims by the opposition that the vote will be rigged.

Opposition parties have raised fears of ballot-tampering, which election officials have denied.

Zambia’s main opposition leader, Michael Sata, said he would not accept the poll results if he believes they are rigged, claiming that he is the most likely candidate to win the vote.

Other candidates in the race are Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development and Godfrey Miyanda of the Heritage Party.—AFP

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