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Zambian general election, 2011

Zambian general election, 2011

20 September 2011

Nominee Michael Sata Rupiah Banda Hakainde Hichilema
Popular vote 1,170,966 987,866 506,763
Percentage 41.98% 35.42% 18.17%

President before election

Rupiah Banda


Michael Sata

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

A general election was held in Zambia on 20 September 2011[1] to elect a President and representatives to the National Assembly.[2] On 23 September, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala announced that Michael Sata had won the election, defeating incumbent Rupiah Banda. He was sworn into office the same day.


  • Presidential candidates 1
  • Campaign 2
  • Criticism 3
  • Violence 4
  • Election 5
    • Controversy 5.1
  • Results 6
    • Reactions 6.1
  • Analysis 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Presidential candidates

Incumbent President Rupiah Banda, of the ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy party, ran for his first full term as President after replacing Levy Mwanawasa, who died in August 2008.[3]

Michael Sata was the candidate of the Patriotic Front and Hakainde Hichilema was the candidate of the United Party for National Development.[4]


With Chinese companies investing US$2 billion by the end of 2010 in the Zambian economy, the status of Chinese business ties with Zambia, Africa's largest copper producer, grew significantly. Earlier in his campaign, Sata accused the Chinese mining firms of having slave-like labour conditions and ignoring safety standards and local cultural practices.[5] He has been nicknamed "King Cobra" because of his harsh rhetoric, but he later toned down his rhetoric against the mostly Chinese foreign mining firms.[6]


The Zambian-based Foundation for Democratic Process criticised the holding of the election without electoral reform. It blamed the history of electoral violence and the previous failure of the losing parties to accept losing on the lack of reform.[7] While many called for the establishment of a 50% + 1 vote system for electing the president, the government said a new system would not be used for the election.[8]


The election saw violence in the run-up to the vote.



Two days before the results were officially announced, the High Court banned three independent media outlets from publishing speculation on the result after The Post published a headline reading "Sata Heads for Victory." The same day, Banda's office also said that such reports were "rumours" as no final result had been compiled. The delay in announcing the results was the cause of riots in Ndola and Kitwe, where youths fought with riot police while also burning vehicles and markets. Additionally, hackers attacked the Election Commission's website that night and posted false results suggesting Sata won by a landslide.[5][9]

European Union electoral observers said that the election was "generally well administered," but that there was not equitable access to resources, resulting in the lack of a "level playing field" in the campaign. They said that state-owned media had failed to meet "even their minimal obligations as public service media."[10]


On 23 September, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala announced Sata the winner of the election with 1,150,045 votes, or 43%, with 95.3% of votes counted. Banda received 961,796 votes, or 36.1%, and other minor parties trailed in the poll.[5][11] Sata was sworn into office later that day

Zambian presidential election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Patriotic Front Michael Sata 1,170,966 41.98%
Movement for Multi-Party Democracy Rupiah Banda 987,866 35.42%
United Party for National Development Hakainde Hichilema 506,763 18.17%
Alliance for Democracy and Development Charles Milupi 26,270 0.94%
National Restoration Party Elias Chipimo Jnr 10,672 0.38%
United National Independence Party Tilyenji Kaunda 9,950 0.36%
Forum for Democracy and Development Edith Nawakwi 6,833 0.24%
National Movement for Progress N’gandu Peter Magande 6,344 0.23%
Heritage Godfrey Miyanda 4,730 0.17%
Zambians for Empowerment and Development Frederick Mutesa 2,268 0.08%
Valid votes 2,732,662 97.93%
Invalid or blank votes 56,678 2.03%
Total votes 2,789,340 100.00%
Voter turnout 53.98%
Source: Electoral Commission of Zambia
 Summary of the 20 September 2011 National Assembly of Zambia election results
Parties Votes % +/– Seats +/–
Patriotic Front 1,028,793 38.25 +9.55 60 +17
Movement for Multi-Party Democracy 902,619 33.56 -16.44 55 −20
United Party for National Development 456,873 16.99 -0.31 28 +2
Independents 208,294 7.74 +5.74 3 ±0
Alliance for Democracy and Development 31,638 1.18 1 New
Forum for Democracy and Development 20,243 0.75 1 New
United National Independence Party 18,444 0.69
National Movement for Progress 11,828 0.44
National Restoration Party 4,688 0.17
Zambians for Empowerment and Development 3,059 0.11
New Generation Party 657 0.02
National Revolution Party 505 0.02
Heritage 485 0.02
Unified Party for Democracy and Development 442 0.02
National Party 193 0.01
Zambia Direct Democracy Movement 177 0.01
Zambian Conservative Party 168 0.01
All People's Congress Party 139 0.01
Citizens Democratic Party 137 0.01
United Liberal Party 131 0.00 -1.3
Federal Democratic Party 27 0.00
vacant 2
Total 2,689,540 100.00 150
Source: Electoral Commission of Zambia (votes), Electoral Commission of Zambia (seats)

By-elections are to be held in the constituencies of Magoye (Southern Province) and Nakonde (Northern Province).[12]


Sata received a congratulatory telephone call from his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.[13] While in the 2006 election China had threatened to cut diplomatic relations with Zambia if Sata was elected, due to his criticisms of Chinese mining interests in the country,[14] China issued a statement "welcoming" the result.[13]


Psephologists suggested that the youth vote helped anti-incumbency in a continent that rarely results in an anti-incumbent vote. They also drew parallels with the 2011 ousting of the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt.[5] As a result of Sata's rhetoric, there were also concerns about the future investment climate in the country.[6] Other readings said that after Sata toned down his rhetoric he did not differ much from Banda, but benefited from a crowded ballot of candidates.[15] Psephologists also indicated that Sata did well in the urban areas, while Banda was expected to do well in the rural areas.[10]


  1. ^ "It’s September 20!". The Times. Zambia. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Zambia: Luwingu backs Rupiah’s candidature in 2011 Lusaka Times, 23 November 2010
  4. ^ Redvers, Louise (19 September 2011). "China's stake in Zambia's election". BBC News. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Opposition leader wins Zambia election – Africa". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Mfula, Chris (22 May 2008). "King Cobra Sata wins Zambia presidential race". Reuters. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  7. ^ Zambia: Holding elections under current constitution is a mockery – FODEP Lusaka Times, 19 November 2010
  8. ^ "50% + 1 won’t be used in 2011" – Kunda] Post, Zambia, 19 November 2010
  9. ^ "Zambia poll: Riots in Kitwe and Ndola over slow results". BBC News. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Opposition Leader Sata Declared Winner of Zambia Election". VOA News. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Zambia's Incumbent President Concedes Defeat Following Election".  
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b "Zambia's "King Cobra" Sata sworn in as president".  
  14. ^ "Michael Sata: Zambia's 'King Cobra' finally strikes".  
  15. ^ "Challenger Michael Sata wins Zambia presidential elections". The Times of India. AP. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 

External links

  • Election Commission of Zambia for the 2011 election
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