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Zambia’s general elections to hold in August

By Editor
05 January 2016   |   6:14 am
ZAMBIA has fixed its general elections for Monday, August 11, this year. On this date the country will hold both the presidential and parliamentary elections. Incumbent President Edgar Lungu is expected to stand in for the poll. Also yesterday, President Lungu reversed a sharp increase in electricity tariffs, saying the hike had ended up hurting…

Edgar Lungu

ZAMBIA has fixed its general elections for Monday, August 11, this year. On this date the country will hold both the presidential and parliamentary elections. Incumbent President Edgar Lungu is expected to stand in for the poll.

Also yesterday, President Lungu reversed a sharp increase in electricity tariffs, saying the hike had ended up hurting the poor.

Lungu, who is due to ratify the constitutional amendments today, defeated the opposition United Party for National Development’s (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema last January. Hakainde said the election had been “stolen”. Lungu, a lawyer, won 48.3 percent of the vote to 46.7 percent for Hichilema, a wealthy economist.

Presidential spokesman Amos Chanda told Reuters on Monday that “The new constitution has a fixed election date and that will take effect as soon as the president signs,” Chanda said.

Other amendments to Zambia’s constitution include a clause requiring a winning presidential candidate to get more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast.Some analysts criticized as politically motivated Lungu’s decision to scrap electricity price increases and sign the constitutional amendments at a lavish public ceremony.

“Obviously these are efforts intended to gain political advantage,” University of Zambia analyst Lee Habasonda said.

“For now the decision to reverse the electricity tariff increase will go down well with the voters but it won’t help to resolve Zambia’s power problems,” Habasonda said. Zambia’s state power utility Zesco last December nearly doubled the price of electricity.

The International Monetary Fund had welcomed the price hike, saying it would ease power shortages that have put pressure on the economy of Africa’s No. 2 copper producer.

The tariff increase was expected to raise revenue that would see $3.7 billion invested in power generation projects, adding capacity to the national grid, Zambia’s energy regulator said.