Zambia’s opposition calls for internet to be unblocked in the country amid elections

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Zambia’s opposition presidential candidate has called on the Zambian communications authority for their internet connection to be restored after it was cut during Thursday’s tightly contested elections.

In a tweet, Hakainde Hichilema said: “We call on Zicta (the communications authority) to immediately unblock the internet so citizens can follow the electoral process and continue with their lives unhindered”.

Reporters in Zambia say WhatsApp is still down and Twitter and Facebook are also working at irregular intervals and not continuously.

People have been using virtual private networks (VPNs), which allow users to evade the local restrictions.
Election day passed off largely peacefully, but President Edgar Lungu, who is seeking a second term, said some violence was reported in the North-Western province, a stronghold of Mr Hichilema, where two people including a ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party chairman were killed.

“I’m also appalled by the amount of mayhem witnessed in North-Western, some parts of Western, and Southern provinces. Clearly, the elections in these places have not been free and fair,” he tweeted.

He said he had ordered that troops be reinforced in these three provinces.
Vote counting is under way in Zambia, where millions of people cast their ballots in closely contested general and presidential elections.

Large queues formed outside many polling stations, suggesting turnout has been high.
President Edgar Lungu is seeking a second term but faces a strong challenge from the main opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema, against the background of a flagging economy.

The day passed largely peacefully, with some isolated incidents of violence.
The Zambian election commission says results are expected within 72 hours.

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