I was in town today running some various errands and besides a large police presence and plenty of vehicles covered in campaign posters blaring campaign songs, everything seems normal. But here's a run down on why we're staying home the rest of the week and what the most likely outcome will be...
In Zambia a president is elected for a 5-year term. Four years back, the two leading parties where the incumbent MMD (Movement for Multi-Party Democracy) and the upcoming PF (Patriotic Front). PF came out strong and the incumbent president stepped aside and allowed the new PF president, Michael Sata step in. But since last year when the late president passed away, there's been major confusion over the upcoming by-election. The difficulty came in that the new constitution was never passed and the vice president was a white guy whose Scottish parents were not born in Zambia, making him ineligible for the full office. Strangely in Zambia, instead of the incumbent party just finishing out the last year of their term, a full presidential election is happening this week with all the opposition parties standing with their own candidates. The PF candidate (Hon. E. Lungu) is likely to win but is experiencing a big threat from the UPND (United Part for National Development) candidate, Hakainde Hiclilema or HH for short. MMD is still running a candidate in Nevers Mumba, a sometimes pastor and televangelist, but is unlikely to get more than 25% of the vote.
Zambia is known as a peaceful country with little tribal violence, has never had a civil war and had a bloodless independence. But there is chance of small instances of localized violence or trouble near polling stations and if the election is seen as extremely corrupt by either party, there may be more extreme unrest. Please pray that many Zambians would go out and vote tomorrow and that it would be done peacefully. Pray that there would be clear victor and that losing opposition will be content with the possibility of the full election opportunity in 2016. Pray for God's continued mercy and grace on this peaceful country where we get to serve.
So we'll stay home this week in anticipation of some localized trouble in the city and staying home is just a wise choice. And we've got plenty to keep us busy.