Following the Thursday vote to pick Zambia‘s new leader, African Union election observers reported heightened tensions in the country. The mission also confirmed that tensions between the incumbent ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) have risen.
“The mission notes that the 2021 general election took place against a backdrop of heightened political tensions in the country, particularly between the two major political parties,” said Ernest Bai Koroma, former president of Sierra Leone and head of the African Union mission in Zambia.
According to the incumbent leader, violence erupted in the North-Western region, a bastion of Hichilema, where two people were slain, including a chairman of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF). This, according to the AU mission, is due to hostile politics driven by media misrepresentation.
“Despite its diversity, the media landscape, like the political parties, remains polarized. During the campaign, there was a noteworthy rise in hate speech and misinformation “The mission of the AU observers was also revealed.
On Sunday, the final consolidated results are scheduled to be announced by the end of the day. In the third consecutive standoff between President Edgar Lungu, 64, and experienced opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema, the vote is set to be the closest yet.