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Zambian Elections

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

  On Tuesday there will be national elections in which Zambia will elect a president for a five year term.  The incumbant is Rupiah Banda (seen in the above photo) who has been president since we arrived after being elected to replace the previous president who died in office.  There are a total of 10 candidates for president, but there are three who are the “front-runners” and most believe it is really just down to two (Banda vs. Sata).  These are the same two who were the front runners of the previous election which was won by less than 35,000 votes.  There is a great deal of skepticism regarding the last election with some questioning the last minute votes that came in from a very remote area which allowed Banda to win.

  All of this makes the coming election the focus of attention and concern.  Zambia has a history of peaceful elections but there is concern that this one could be different.  We have been advised to stay abreast of the situation as the results unfold over the rest of the week.  We have stocked up on food, but I really don’t expect anything but sporadic clashes between the youth of the opposing sides.

  Unlike the US, the differences between the candidates are rather small in terms of policy.  It is much more a matter of personality than a battle of ideals.  There is also a more obvious attempt as garnering votes.  Prior to the past couple of months, there has been little work on infrastructure but over the past few months there is work everywhere and all of the work is accompanied with billboards such as the one above on our road ensuring people know who is responsbile for the work.  I see Rupiah Banda chitenges and shirts everwhere these days.  (Chitenges are pieces of cloth that serve many uses and a Zambia woman will always have one at hand for wrapping around her waist, carrying a baby on her back or many other uses.)  The MMD (Banda’s party) is spending a great deal of money on such things.  So much so that the other candidate has adopted the mantra “Don’t Kubeba”, meaning “don’t tell them”.  In other words, take what they are giving out but don’t promise your vote in return.  As a result, it is very difficult to get an idea of where each of the candidates stand in the polls.

  There is no school and all shops are closed on Tuesday, so we have decided we will have a “game day” as everyone is essentially stuck at home.  We will watch the news carefully to monitor the situation.  If you are intersted in understanding more of the Zambian politics, there are some good articles written by a South African paper which can be found at http://mg.co.za/tag/2011-zambian-elections.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Joan
    September 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for the up-date. I really am interested in this.

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