Zambian general election, 2011

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia
Zambian general election, 2011

← 2008 20 September 2011 2015 →
  Michael Sata (cropped).jpg Rupiah Banda.jpg Hakainde Hichilema 2014.jpg
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

General elections were held in Zambia on 20 September 2011,[1] electing a President and members of the National Assembly. Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) won the presidential elections, defeating incumbent Rupiah Banda of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), and was sworn into office on 23 September. The PF emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly, winning 60 of the 148 seats decided on election day.


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.[2]

Michael Sata was the candidate of the Patriotic Front and Hakainde Hichilema was the candidate of the United Party for National Development.[3]

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. Early in his campaign, Sata accused the Chinese mining firms of having slave-like labour conditions and ignoring safety standards and local cultural practices.[4] 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.[5]


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.[4][6]

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."[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]


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.[4][10] Sata was sworn into office later that day


Candidate Party Votes %
Michael Sata Patriotic Front 1,170,966 41.98
Rupiah Banda Movement for Multi-Party Democracy 987,866 35.42
Hakainde Hichilema United Party for National Development 506,763 18.17
Charles Milupi Alliance for Democracy and Development 26,270 0.94
Elias Chipimo Jr National Restoration Party 10,672 0.38
Tilyenji Kaunda United National Independence Party 9,950 0.36
Edith Nawakwi Forum for Democracy and Development 6,833 0.24
N’gandu Peter Magande National Movement for Progress 6,344 0.23
Godfrey Miyanda Heritage Party 4,730 0.17
Frederick Mutesa Zambians for Empowerment and Development 2,268 0.08
Invalid/blank votes 39,602
Total 2,772,264 100
Registered voters/turnout 5,167,154 53.65
Source: ECZ

National Assembly

Voting did not take place in two constituencies (Magoye and Nakonde) on polling day due to deaths of candidates,[11] and the elected member for Chongwe (Japhen Mwakalombe of the MMD) resigned before taking his seat. By-elections were held for all three seats on 24 November 2011, with the PF winning two (Chongwe and Nakonde) and the UPND one (Magoye).

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Patriotic Front 1,037,108 38.42 60 +17
Movement for Multi-Party Democracy 902,619 33.44 55 −17
United Party for National Development 464,527 17.21 28
Alliance for Democracy and Development 33,057 1.22 1 New
Forum for Democracy and Development 20,243 0.75 1
United National Independence Party 18,446 0.68 0
National Movement for Progress 11,828 0.44 0 New
National Restoration Party 4,688 0.17 0 New
Zambians for Empowerment and Development 3,059 0.11 0 New
New Generation Party 657 0.02 0 0
National Revolution Party 505 0.02 0 New
Heritage Party 485 0.02 0 0
Unified Party for Democracy and Development 308 0.01 0 New
National Party 193 0.01 0 0
Zambia Direct Democracy Movement 177 0.01 0 0
Zambian Conservative Party 168 0.01 0 New
All People's Congress Party 139 0.01 0 0
Citizens' Democratic Party 137 0.01 0 0
United Liberal Party 131 0.00 0 –3
Federal Democratic Party 27 0.00 0 0
Independents 201,089 7.45 3 0
Presidential appointees 8 0
Appointed Speaker 1 0
Vacant 2
Invalid/blank votes 36,132
Total 2,735,723 100 159 0
Registered voters/turnout 5,101,312 53.63
Source: ECZ (votes), ECZ (seats)


Sata received a congratulatory telephone call from his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.[12] 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,[13] China issued a statement "welcoming" the result.[12]


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.[4] As a result of Sata's rhetoric, there were also concerns about the future investment climate in the country.[5] 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.[14] Psephologists also indicated that Sata did well in the urban areas, while Banda was expected to do well in the rural areas.[7]


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