HH Rejoices Over Alleged Referendum Victory

HH Rejoices Over Alleged Referendum Victory.

UNITED Party for National Development ( UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema says his party has won on the referendum, after the vote failed to meet the stipulated threshold.

Addressing a press conference at his residence in Lusaka on Friday evening, Mr Hichilema said he had told his members not to vote in the referendum and this led to its failure.

“ We have won on the referendum,” Mr Hichilema announced, as his supporters applauded.

On Friday, the Electoral Commission of Zambia ( ECZ) announced that the referendum, which was held alongside the general election on August 11 had failed, because the number of votes – both in favour and against – fell short of the threshold, that is, 50 percent of eligible voters.

The ECZ used the estimated 7,528,091 of eligible voters provided by the Central Statistical Office, but only 3,345,471 votes ( about 44 percent) were cast in the referendum.

Of the 3.3 million voters, 1,852,559 voted Yes, while 753, 549 voted No. The wasted ballots were 739,303.

The referendum was called to allow citizens to choose whether or not to repeal Article 79 of the Constitution, and allow the Bill of Rights to be expanded.

Rights that were to be included in the Bill of Rights are: economic, cultural, environmental and social rights.

These rights would also have been justiciable, meaning that citizens would have had the right to sue Government whenever they felt their rights were infringed upon.

Many stakeholders, including the United Nations, have described the referendum flop as a missed opportunity for citizens to be granted more rights.