- Zambia's election commission has rejected opposition demands for elections recount saying it will on Thursday only begin verifying ballots cast in last week's disputed presidential polls to enable opposition to challenge result in court.
Defeated Patriotic Front Party leader, Michael Sata, who has branded elections a fraud, and demanded recounting earlier this week, said he will challenge the result in court.
"We start our verification tomorrow and this is to check all election materials, what was used and what has remained," Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) spokesman Chris Akufuna said.
Mr Akufuna said that while there would be a verification exercise, it would stop short of a recount as demanded by opposition leader Michael Sata. "This is strictly a verification exercise and not a recount," he said.
Under Zambian law, verification of ballots is required before an aggrieved politician can ask the court to demand all ballots are recounted.
"This is standard post-election procedure. Only courts of law would order a recount and that is when we would open the ballot boxes," he said.
Mr Akufuna said verification exercise would involve accounting for all ballot papers which were issued, those which remained, and then reconciled with the total number of ballots cast.
PF chairman for local government Winter Kabimba said electoral commission had called for the verification after the party demanded it be done to facilitate its legal challenge.
"Initially we had asked for verification in only 38 constituencies, but now we want verification in all 150 constituencies and we have hence dispatched our election agents to all the polling districts across the country," Mr Kabimba said.
President Rupiah Banda beat Mr Sata by a mere 35,000 votes last week in contest which opposition claimed was rigged.
African observers declared the vote free and fair.
Mr Banda was sworn in as president on Sunday, just two hours after election officials declared him winner with 40.09 percent of the vote to Sata's 38.13 percent.
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