- Zambian acting president has called for peace and unity ahead of next week's presidential elections.
Mr Rupiah Banda, who will also be one of the frontrunners, for ruling MDC party urged Zambians to come out in large number to cast their votes on Thursday next week.
In a national address on eve of Zambia's 44th independence, he further urged Zambians to show by example that unity and democracy will prevail, despite earlier predictions, by elements he called, prophets of doom, who had said there was going to be chaos after death of president Levy Mwanawasa on 19 August.
"Every Zambian should contribute to the emancipation of our country from poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and unemployment. Let us therefore use the prevailing democratic dispensation as a spring board to fight these ills," appealed Mr Banda further urging citizens to exercise their right to usher in fourth republican president.
Mr Banda also urged Electoral Commission of Zambia to conduct free and fair elections, a commitment he said government has made, amid claims by opposition that vote will be rigged.
Opposition parties have already raised fears of ballot-tampering, with opposition leader Michael Sata threatening he would not accept results if results are twisted.
Other candidates in presidential race are Hakainde Hichilema of opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) and Godfrey Miyanda of Heritage Party.
Several other opposition parties have reportedly withdrew from race and decided to back Mr Banda, the only newcomer to presidential race.
In 2006 presidential poll, MMD garnered 42.98 percent of total votes winning the presidency while Mr Sata came second with 29.37 percent.
Mr Hichilema came third with 25 percent of vote and Miyanda came fourth with 1.57 percent.
Zambia has invited regional and sub-regional organisations to observe this 30 October presidential elections.
Apart from SADC, other African regional organisations invited include Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community of West African States, Pan-African Parliament, Economic Community of Central African States, East African Community, and Maghreb Union.
International bodies invited include Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) bloc, Non-Aligned Movement, Association of South East Asian Nations and European Union.
Zambia has 3.9 million registered voters, and ECZ says it will be using 2006 voters’ roll due to time limitations to conduct a fresh list.
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