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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Zambians' voting experiences
Composite picture of Zambians voting

Zambians told us their views and experiences as they went to the polls in their country's fourth presidential and general elections since multi-party politics replaced 18 years of Kenneth Kaunda's one party state in 1991.

Some four million people were registered to choose a president, members of parliament and local councillors in the southern African country.

Read below to find out how the day unfolded.

Pauline Songiso in Livingstone at 1757 local time (1557 GMT/1457 BST)

I have voted. I feel a bit relieved as I had been holding onto my decision for a long time.

I'm still unsure of what the results will be and am anxious to know who our next leader will be.

Pauline Songiso in Livingstone at 1640 local time (1440 GMT/1540 BST)

I am in the queue but so many, about a hundred or so, are ahead of me.

Zambian woman casts her vote
The excitement of voting is dying down now, says Pauline

Maybe because of the area where I stay. It is a high density area and so there are many, many people.

The mood looks solemn. People are not excited anymore. I have been talking to people and they are feeling low and expectant for the outcome.

Some are seated on the ground, especially women and their babies.

This polling station opened 40 minutes late and so they are going to stay open for 40 minutes longer.

At the rate we are going I think we will finish. The pace is faster now.

Brian Nyirongo in Kafue at 1628 local time (1428 GMT/1528 BST)

I have just voted.

The queues were bad in the morning but now everyone has voted.

With voting finished the mood is one of anticipation. Everyone is expectant.

I do not have to work until Monday so will stick around here in Kafue till then. I won't sleep until I get the results.

Naomi Banda in Lusaka at 1611 local time (1411 GMT/1511 BST)

Naomi Banda
Michael Sata was Naomi's choice

I managed to vote. It took a long time. I queued for four hours.

There are still some people waiting.

There were some confusions - things like where people went to vote but then found their details were not in the registry book and so were not able to cast their ballot. It wasn't a very common case but nevertheless disappointing for those affected.

I am at home now.

It feels exciting to think that I have voted for the first time.

I know that I have voted for someone who will work for the people. If Mr Sata gets to the State House I will be happy.

Bellah Zulu, 24, journalist in Mongu at 1451 local time (1251 GMT/1351 BST)

I am not so sure whether I have been disenfranchised or if I disenfranchised myself.

Hichilema Hakainde, presidential candidate for the opposition United Democratic Alliance party prepares to cast his vote in Kabolonga, Lusaka
There is feeling that Mr Hichilema won't make it, Bellah says

I am among the many former University of Zambia students who are unable to vote because we registered while studying.

I am unable to get back to Lusaka to vote.

I knew that I would have to go to Lusaka to vote but it is too far - about 600km away.

It is also the end of the month - I get paid at the beginning of the month and by this late stage I have too little funds remaining to be able to make a long journey.

Voting has been peaceful apart from one or two complaints. The atmosphere is good willed and turnout has been brilliant - very large numbers.

Today is also cooler making it easier for those queuing in the elements. The voters have all looked very comfortable.

From what I have picked up, Hakainde Hichilema is the majority's choice. The greater populace who understand economics will go for him.

However there is mass feeling that he might not make it.

As for Michael Sata, his history in this province is not favourable - a great many were insulted a while back by him.

He did not campaign round here. Instead, he stuck close to the Copperbelt.

Brian Nyirongo, 30, Customs officer at Zambia-Zimbabwe border post at 1429 local time (1229 GMT/1329 BST)

As a customs officer at the Chirundu border post I had to work today. Even though it is a public holiday the border cannot be closed - it is the busiest crossing between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Map of Zambia

But soon I will be off to Kafue, about 100km away, where I am registered.

It will take me about an hour to get there.

Yesterday there were a lot of Zambians coming into the country, from Zimbabwe or from South Africa via Zimbabwe, so as to be able to vote.

I'd like Hakainde Hichilema to win but I expect Sata will. I like Mr Hichilema's economic policies - his business background can only be an asset to our country.

Pauline Songiso in Livingstone at 1229 local time (1029 GMT/1129 BST)

I haven't voted yet because the line is so long.

I was at the polling station by 0700 local time. I stayed on for some time, chatting to people. I was interviewing voters for the radio station I work for.

Pauline Songiso
If our economy is boosted then there will be enough good jobs to go round
Pauline Songiso
Journalist and mother, 27

I went home to lie down for a bit in the hope that the queue would reduce. Since going back though, the queues are still very long and so I plan to return much later.

I want to witness the ballot boxes being packed.

I am walking through a craft market at the moment and drums are being beaten all around me.

The day so far is going so well.

Many decided to go early to vote. Most have families and wanted to have some time with them after. The weather is also hot and so it is easier to queue in the morning's more gentle heat. Also I think for many, they wanted to be the first one to vote.

Most of the voters are young people and the main issue is the economy.

People are taking particular attention to the MPs and presidential candidates. Very few knew which of their local councillors to vote for - the local candidates have been completely overshadowed.

Wilfred Nyasenda in Solwezi at 1226 local time (1026 GMT/1126 BST)

I have just voted. I voted for Hakainde Hichilema because he has a vision for a future Zambia.

The economic policies of the previous government have left most Zambians in dire need of even the basic needs like soap, salt, sugar, and even mealie meal. Many do not manage to have three meals a day - they live on one meal per day.

Zambia needs an economic liberator and not a lawyer or policeman.

John Mtonga, 29, electrical engineer in Kitwe at 1035 local time (0835 GMT/0935 BST)

Miners at a Michael Sata (PF) rally
Kitwe is on Zambia's Copperbelt

I have just voted.

When we began lining up in the morning the queues were very long but once we started moving it went really fast.

The whole process has been organised very well. It has been excellent.

I voted for Michael Sata because I feel that he is going to work on the things that matter to me.

Today is a public holiday and so I have the whole day off.

I'll just be at home.

I was really looking forward to voting and now I have.

Jonathan Mutanga in Lusaka at 0956 local time (0756 GMT/0856 BST)

By the time I arrived the queue was already so long.

The issues that have influenced my vote is the wanton destruction of the work culture by the people in power
Jonathan Mutanga
Engineer, 44

But it is moving now.

I think I have a thousand people ahead of me and probably the same behind me.

The crowd is peaceful and I don't anticipate any rush. People are taking their time, knowing that by the end of the day they would have cast their vote.

Most people are still standing. Everyone is still fresh. Maybe as the day goes by we will tire and sit down now and then to rest our feet.

It is warm and humid - the rainy season has not yet started.

There a lot of middle-aged people here at the moment and there are plenty of young ones - those between 25 and 30-years-old.

Vendors are walking amongst us all selling drinks and phone cards.

Naomi Banda in Lusaka at 0907 local time (0707 GMT/0805 BST)

There are three lines and we have to vote in alphabetical order. I think I might be able to vote soon as my surname begins with 'B'. I am standing in the 'A - K' queue.

Naomi Banda
The choice I make will be a sacrifice for myself, my family and my future children
Naomi Banda
Student, 22

My polling station is quite far from home so I woke at 0500 local time to travel here. Because I left so early there were no buses and so I walked all the way - about 45 minutes.

I have been queuing for two hours and it is moving very slowly.

I am with my sister, my brother and my dad came all the way from his farm.

When I arrived people seemed tense and rigid but now everyone is feeling calm. Although the mood is definitely one of excitement.

The polling station where I am is where incumbent president Levy Mwanawasa had his last campaign rally yesterday (Wednesday).

People are not outwardly showing who they want to vote for. No-one is wearing party colours.

People are not saying who they plan to vote for but they are discussing that someone new is needed.




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