Opposition leader and the man they call King Cobra, Michael Sata, has won the presidential election, defeating incumbent president Rupiah Banda.
With most of the votes now accounted for, Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) received 1,150,045 votes which is 43% of the vote. Incumbent president Rupiah Banda of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) received 961,796 or 36.1% of the vote.
Sata stood on a platform of redistributing much of the wealth created by Zambia’s resource rich mining industry. He has been very critical of the way in which the Chinese in particular have benefited from the mining of copper in the country, whilst more than 60% of Zambians are still living on less than $2 a day.
The mining industry can expect a range of measure to increase taxes and perhaps see more government ownership of key mining industries. It is unclear how far Sata will go in delivering earlier pledges to ‘get rid of the foreigners’.
Overall the international observers and local NGOs have welcomed the largely peaceful campaign (although there were riots in several areas earlier in the week) and say that the election was move closer to a fully democratic election. There was , however, criticism of the use made by the MMD of government resources.