By Francis Maingaila
LUSAKA, Zambia (AA) - Zambia remained on alert for possible violence Monday as the Constitutional Court heard a petition to annul the reelection of President Edgar Lungu.
The court hearing got underway following the Aug. 11 election that saw Lungu returned to office with 50.53 percent of the vote. It will focus on a petition by the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) claiming the poll was rigged by the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the Electoral Commission of Zambia.
The election campaign was marred by clashes between PF and UPND supporters that led to several deaths and the announcement of Lungu’s victory on Aug. 15 sparked further violence and hundreds of arrests as UPND voters rampaged.
“We expect more of these clashes shortly after the Constitutional Court delivers its finding on the petition filed by the opposition UPND challenging the re-election of president Lungu,” Alex Ngoma, a political science lecturer at the University of Zambia, said.
He added: “In places where the opposition party is strong, supporters of the ruling party are on the receiving end while in places where the PF is weak, its supporters are in trouble.”
A ruling from Judge Hilda Chibomba is expected within two weeks.
Jack Mwiibu, a lawyer representing the UPND, said the petition was filed alongside evidence to show there was massive election fraud and abuse of public resources during the campaign.
“The Constitutional Court is still resolving preliminary issues raised by both parties,” he told reporters.
Lungu’s swearing in ceremony was delayed last week after the petition was filed. The 59-year-old president came to power following the death of President Michael Sata in October 2014.