Zambia electoral authority rejects recount demand

Zambia’s electoral authority on Wednesday rejected demands by the opposition for a recount of last week’s disputed presidential election.

Electoral Commission of Zambia spokesperson Cris Akufuna said that while there would be a “verification exercise”, it would stop short of a recount as demanded by opposition leader Michael Sata.

“This is strictly a verification exercise and not a recount,” Akufuna said.

“This is standard post-election procedure ... Only the courts of law would order a recount and that is when we would open the ballot boxes.”

The exercise would involve accounting for all the ballot papers that were issued, those that remained, and then reconciling with the total number of the ballots cast, Akufuna added.

President Rupiah Banda beat Sata by a mere 35 000 votes last week in contest that the opposition claimed was rigged.

Patriotic Front leader Sata wrote to the commission demanding a recount in selected constituencies where he claimed the votes were inflated in favour of the ruling-party candidate.

African observers declared the vote free and fair.

Banda was sworn in as president on Sunday, just two hours after election officials declared him the winner with 40,09% of the vote to Sata’s 38,13%.—AFP

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