Dissecting Historic Voting Patterns

By Mwela Banda

The elections are 5 days away, and for this reason I can write this article knowing fully that there are no longer undecided voters out there. There is no longer anyone to influence. This article simply looks at what is likely to happen on election day based on historic voting patterns. I will focus on the two leading contenders; HH and Lungu.

After weeks of campaigning we can now ask some questions on the likely performance of HH and Lungu. We have heard Chama, SG for PF claim that they will win the election by 65%. In Chipata Lungu said he will win by 70% but in Chongwe he said he will win by 80%. I don’t know which of these is a litigate figure for PF or it’s mere politicking. On the hand HH has claimed victory without putting a number. Other UPND members have claimed victory equally without putting a number. If a number was put then I missed it.

Time to ask and answer some questions based on historic voting patterns


Can Lungu outperform or much president Sata’s performance in 2011 of 42%? My answer is a straight no and this why.

– In PF strongholds this was Sata’s performance in 2011. Copperbelt 68%, Northern (includes Muchinga) 64%, and, Luapula 73%. Others have argued that Lusaka is PF stronghold so I bring it in at Sata’s performance of 55% (not sure this percentage is sign of stronghold).

It is unlikely that Lungu will achieve these numbers. Sata achieved these numbers when there was general discontent in the country towards MMD. People were just done with MMD and PF was seen as the new hope. PF has now been in government and its performance in the agricultural sector and traditional affairs has been dismal. Be mindful that Northern and Luapula have more rural constituencies where farming is very important. Also people in these places value their traditional leaders who have been victimised by this government.

Secondly there is the Nevers Mumba factor. Mumba didn’t participate in 2011 so he will take a good number of votes off Sata’s previous performance. I also expect Nawakwi to perform a lot better. Just not long ago FDD came out second to PF in a by election in Luapula province.

Thirdly HH is expected to lift his numbers following his support from honourables GBM, Mutale Nalumango, Felix Mutati and Mucheleka.

Lastly Lungu is an unknown quantity and people don’t really know him that well. In 2008 Sata got 38% nationally and it is generally agreed what got Sata across the line in 2011 were improved performances in Western, North Western, Eastern and Southern, yes that is right, Southern where he got 24,000 votes (7%).

So these factors are not catastrophic for Lungu but significant to ensure that Lungu doesn’t get anywhere near Sata’s performance.

As for the Copperbelt what will damage Lungu is rural Copperbelt, again owing to poor agricultural sector management. Remember that even before Sata died PF was struggling in rural Copperbelt. We saw UPND win a constituency on the Copperbelt for the first time when they scooped the Lufwanyama constituency, and narrowly lost to PF in Mpongwe.
There will also be people in urban CB worried about the violence that PF leadership is condoning.

So Lungu is not getting 68% on CB which was Sata’s performance.

As for Lusaka just forget about it being PF stronghold. The great man Sata could only marshal 55% at the time that everybody just wanted MMD out, at the time when PF was the new saviour. People have tested PF and there will be a lot of people saying that I ordered PF steak but I received PF vegetables. You have to doubt if Lungu will even hit 50% in Lusaka.

I have brought Eastern to Lungu’s column because he hails from there. In 2011 Eastern was won by Rupiah Banda with 73%. Again I don’t expect Lungu to beat RB’s performance.

RB performed with those numbers as a sitting president. Lungu is not a sitting president. Also the farmers were not disillusioned as they are now. RB had all the MMD MPs campaigning for him. All Lungu has is RB and two MPs, while the rest (12) are campaigning for HH. So we have RB going talking to voters say once every 4 days but he is being challenged by the other MPs who are daily telling voters to vote for HH. In 5 days time we shall find out who has more influence. Also RB was truly a son of Eastern province. He lived there with his people. Lungu doesn’t live there and he can hardly maintain a conversation in local language. Put it this way the name Lungu comes from Eastern province but Edgar Lungu doesn’t.

Whichever way you look at it I don’t see Lungu outperforming RB. In fact I think Lungu won’t more than 60% in Eastern province.

As for the rest of the country in Southern, Western, and North Western he will be lucky to get 5%. All PF structures in these provinces have collapsed. They have either joined UPND or moved to Rainbow Party but presently campaigning for HH.

In Central province Sata got 28%. Lungu should be happy if he gets 20%.

The only advantage that Lungu has is that he is from the ruling party and therefore might have a sympathy vote. I say might because Zambians still remember how RB abused their sympathy vote. So sympathy vote might be a long short. We shall find out very soon.


Can HH perform better than Mazoka did in 2001 which was UPND’s best performance? In the election Mazoka got 38%. My answer is a straight yes, and this is way. Unfortunately I don’t have province by province results for 2001.

– In UPND strongholds of Southern, Western and North Western I expect HH to outperform great Mazoka. When Mazoka stood in 2001 he had real competition from Mwanawasa who was personally liked by the people in these provinces. People even told Mwanawasa that he was standing on a wrong party MMD. In this election HH doesn’t have similar completion from Lungu. PF structures have been severely weakened in Western, Southern and North Western.

In Southern, Western and North Western PF has about six MPs campaigning for Lungu.

HH should get an average of 82% in these provinces.

– In Central I again expect HH to at least meet Mazoka’s performance. Central is a big farming block and there are so many unhappy farmers there. Also there is no Mwanawasa factor. In other words Lungu cannot command the strength of Mwanawasa in this area. I expect HH to get 55% in Central province

– In CB, Luapula, and Northern (including Muchinga) there is no doubt that HH will outperform Mazoka. It is a question of by how much percentage. I personally think that an average of 15 – 20% in Luapula, Northern and Muchinga will make HH happy.

– On the CB HH should be happy with 40% or 35% in worse case scenario.

– In Lusaka it is a question of those people that voted for Mazoka in 2001 regrouping and coming back home.

In 2011 many people were frustrated and fed up with MMD who became big headed and violent. It appears PF has taken us where MMD had left; corruption, nepotism, violence and general lying and selfishness. In 2011 there was no motivation to vote for HH considering it was clear he was not going to win. So if you wanted to stop the RB and MMD nonsense the option was Sata. This is not the case now. HH is in the driver’s seat and therefore there is general motivation to vote for him. If you like, he is the alternative of 2015. I expect HH to match Mazoka’s performance

HH’s challenge is the rain. HH’s major support base is in rural areas where polling stations are distant. If it is raining on polling day, will his supporters brave the rains and take the long walk to the polling stations. Secondly, his supporters are farmers who will have to abandon their maize fields to take time for voting. However, from the crowds that have been turning up to HH’s rallies you get a feeling that his supporters will be motivated enough defy all odds.

I put 2011 results into an excel model and at best Lungu can get no more that 32%. But miracles do happen or is it rigging happens. At worst HH will get 42% and at best 46%. Mumba and Nawakwi will get around 10% each while the rest will share remaining votes.

Since 1996 when Chiluba got 67% no presidential candidate has ever gone over 50%, and I don’t expect HH or Lungu to beat the 50% mark.

Remember to vote early and ensure the votes are secure and not stolen

God bless Zambia and its people


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