Staff members check the register information of voters in Lusaka, Zambia, Aug. 12, 2021. Voting in Zambia's tightly-contested general elections began on Thursday with long queues in polling stations in the capital Lusaka. (Photo by Martin Mbangweta/Xinhua)
LUSAKA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Voting in Zambia's tightly-contested general elections began on Thursday with long queues in polling stations in the capital Lusaka.
Incumbent President Edgar Lungu was the first voter at Andrew Mwenya Polling Station at Crawford School in the sprawling Chawama Shanty Compound in Lusaka, who urged people to maintain peace as they exercise their right to vote.
Polling stations in the country are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time. But voters started queuing at various polling stations as early as 4 a.m. and waited to cast their votes in an election that has attracted 16 presidential candidates, among them Lungu.
Joseph Phiri, who was found at the queue, said he has never seen such huge crowds turning up to vote since the 1991 elections.
"It is a sign that people are eager to vote and we don't expect voter apathy in this election," he said.
About 7 million voters are voting for a president, lawmakers, city mayors and councilors in the elections.
Police officers kept vigil at a distance to ensure security following a spate of violence witnessed in some parts of the country in the run-up to the elections. Enditem