Zambians are voting en masse for a new leader who will replace late President Michael Sata who died in London last October.
Voting opened at 06 Hours and is expected to close at 18 Hours.Heavy rains characterized most parts of the country this morning.Turnout was encouraging by mid day and is expected to pick up later in the day as the morning rains cease.
The mood in most of the polling stations was peaceful as the voters went about casting their votes uninterrupted.
UPND candidate Hakainde Hichilema cast his vote at Kabulonga Secondary School this morning where he reminded people to make sure they vote in plenty of time as polling stations close at 1800. Mr Hichilema called on Zambians to make sure they exercise their democratic right despite the bad weather conditions. He also urged Zambians to remain vigilant throughout the election process and to uphold peace and stability at all times.
PF candidate Edgar Lungu cast his vote at Andrew Mwenya polling station near John Howard Community Hall in Chawama Constituency in Lusaka.
Mr. Lungu arrived at the polling center at around 10 hours in the company of his wife and some party officials.And speaking to Journalists shortly after casting his vote, Mr. Lungu said he is confident of winning the Presidential election.
MMD candidate Dr Nevers Mumba maintained that he is a strong contender in the presidential race.He said he will get down to work immediately he is inaugurated as republican President.Dr Mumba cast his vote at Woodlands A Basic School accompanied by his wife Florence and senior party members.
Meanwhile, FDD candidate Edith Nawakwi had to be forced to remove her nail polish before casting her vote.Ms Nawakwi’s voting was delayed at UNZA’s Sports Hall after the elections agent refused to allow her to vote with her nail polish in order to ink her thumb.
And Heritage Party candidate Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda voted at Chilongolo polling station in Lusaka’s Makeni area accompanied by his wife Angela and son Simambo.He was quick to point out that he will concede defeat if he loses the election convincingly.
SADC Observer Mission Head Maite Nkoana Mashabane is impressed with the high voter turnout and patience exhibited by voters so far.
Dr Mashabane who is also Minister of International Relations in South Africa is also impressed that despite the rains, people have come out to cast their votes in numbers.