Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

Zambia: Voting Opens in Mpongwe, Livingstone Waits

Voting has commenced in Mpongwe Constituency with most polling stations opening at around 06:00 hours this morning.

In Livingstone, where another by-election was to be held today, there is no electoral activity after the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) cancelled the poll due to political intolerance among players and violence.

Five candidates are contesting the Mpongwe by-election including Gabriel Namulambe, formerly of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), who quit to join the ruling Patriotic Front on whose ticket he is vying to retain the seat.

Former District Commissioner Miniver Mutesa is the MMD's candidate while Rabson Chilufya is contesting the seat on the United Party for National Development (UPND). On the sidelines of the contest are Kenneth Kuveya and Reagan Lwambu respectively of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and National Restoration Party (NAREP).

Voting is expected to close at 18:00 hours after which the winner could be known by midnight.

The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has bemoaned lack of pre-election monitoring of the Mpongwe by-election which the NGO fears could lead to the ruling party gaining undue advantage.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani has complained that the postponement of the Livingstone by-election will stretch the limited resources of the service.

ECZ has cancelled the poll in Livingstone after a PF official Harrison Chanda died in clashes between political parties leading to the arrest of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and more than 30 other opposition officials including two legislators Garry Nkombo and Request Muntanga.

Libongani said while the service has enough manpower on the ground drawn from Kamfinsa Mobile Unit and Lilayi Paramilitary Unit, the service will need more resources to sustain its operations.

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