Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus : Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"What would you do?"

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • Thousands gather in Marseille in support of Israel

    Read more

  • As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

    Read more

  • Liberia tightens border controls to curb Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

Africa

Riots erupt amid claims of vote-rigging

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-22

Riots hit northern Zambia’s Copper Belt, a stronghold of opposition leader Michael Sata, as partial results showed him leading in the country’s presidential election. The slow vote tally has sparked suspicions of vote-rigging.

REUTERS - Zambian youths went on the rampage on Thursday in the northern Copper Belt, a stronghold of opposition leader Michael Sata who has a firm lead in the race to be next president, venting their frustration with a slow vote count.

Despite the strong showing for 74-year-old Sata, the drip-by-drip release of results from Tuesday's election provoked rumours of vote rigging, angering his supporters in particular.
The youths fought running battles with riot police in the towns of Ndola and Kitwe, 250 km (150 miles) north of Lusaka, setting fire to vehicles and markets in the normally peaceful southern African country's mining heartland.

"They are on the streets with stones and we can only urge them to stop the riotous behaviour," Copper Belt police chief Martin Malama told Reuters. There were no reports of injuries and it was too early to assess the extent of damage, he added.

The latest tally showed Sata with 994,094 votes against 808,596 for incumbent Rupiah Banda, leader of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) party that has run Zambia since one-party rule ended in 1991.

The Election Commission tally was based on 116 out of 150 constituencies. Final results could come on Friday morning.

Hackers who hit the Election Commission's website overnight, posting false results showing Sata on course for a landslide, added to the confusion and tension of what was already a neck-and-neck run-off between two old rivals.

Despite the lead for Sata, a vocal critic of Chinese mining investment in Africa's biggest copper producer, Banda is expected to close the gap as rural constituencies which he counts as his major supporters start to deliver their results.

The race may therefore go right to the wire as it did in a 2008 run-off which Sata, nicknamed "King Cobra" for his sharp tongue, lost by just 35,000 votes.

Banda urges calm

Banda urged calm but firm police action. "The President further calls upon the police to bring to book whoever was instigating the violent act," said a statement issued by state house. "Violence has no place in resolving problems"

Military trucks with armed soldiers have been rolling through the streets of Ndola to prevent further violence, witnesses said.

State radio reported that crowds of protesters had also blocked the main road between Kitwe and Chingola, another mining town near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, suggesting high levels of tension across the region.

Despite the unrest, Election Commission Chairwoman Irene Mambilima said she would not be rushed into releasing results that had not been double- and triple-checked.

"The verification of these results is very important. We ask political parties to tell their supporters to remain peaceful," she told reporters, adding that the full result should be known by Thursday evening.

The High Court in Lusaka banned three private media outlets on Thursday from speculating on the outcome of the Sept. 20 election, further angering Sata's young urban supporters.

The European Union's observer mission said the poll had been generally well organised and that ballot counting had gone smoothly barring a few glitches, but it criticised state media for lacking "any degree of balance" during the campaign.

Sata toned down his rhetoric against foreign mining firms in the closing stages of the six-week campaign but a victory for him would still cloud the investment outlook.

Political risk analysts, who were divided in predicting the result, said a Sata defeat might provoke unrest although they added that this was likely to be short-lived and have no impact on copper output or the wider economy.

"If Sata loses a close election and rejects the outcome there will be some unrest in Lusaka and the Copper Belt but it will be contained," research firm Eurasia said.

Date created : 2011-09-22

  • Zambia

    Zambians turn out in force for presidential vote

    Read more

  • ZAMBIA

    Controversial ex-president Chiluba dies aged 68

    Read more

COMMENT(S)