Second Election Day: Rain, Vote Counting and the Mining Tax

In the second day of Zambia’s elections steady rain has prevented thousands of voters from going to the polls. In the afternoon of the second day of voting only 33% of eligible voters had made their mark. In the meantime vote counting was halted as the publication of interims results created various hotspots for voter intimidation and statements by all candidates not to accept similar outcomes. Vote counting is expected to resume only after all polling stations are closed and ballot papers are secured.

h3. Mining Tax influencing Elections

A controversial decision to hike mining royalties in copper-rich Zambia has not only spooked investors, but has become an unlikely presidential election issue in one of Africa’s two biggest producers. Zambia tripled mining royalties to 20% from 6% on January 1, putting the government at loggerheads with mining firms already buckling under a fall in global commodity prices. “How can any knowledgeable government in today’s world impose a tax like that?” a leading opposition presidential contender in Tuesday’s election, Hakainde Hichilema, asked AFP in an interview. It is a question that the ruling Patriotic Front party’s candidate, Edgar Lungu, has been wrestling with – leading him to tell a TV interviewer “nothing is cast in stone”.

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