A LATEST opinion poll by the University of Zambia (UNZA) Patriotic Front (PF) think tank has predicted that the ruling party’s presidential candidate Edgar Lungu is likely to win tomorrow’s presidential election by a 63 percent runaway vote, leaving Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) at a paltry 21 percent of the total vote.
But UPND special presidential assistant Douglas Siakalima has described the poll as unrealistic and advised the ruling party to start preparing Mr Lungu for defeat so that he does not get shocked when Mr Hichilema is declared winner of the presidential election.
University of Zambia PF Think Tank president Mary Nyambe said the ruling party’s popularity in the last three years had tremendously improved, guaranteeing Mr Lungu a 63 percent win, surpassing the popularity of late president Michael Sata who won the 2011 general election with 42 percent.
The opinion poll results were arrived at after the think tank selected two districts from each province and then one constituency in each of the selected districts which they sampled.
Dr Nyambe said Mr Hichilema’s popularity in the last three years had only increased by 3 percent and claimed that the UPND leader was going to come second at 21 percent and would only manage to beat the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) whose popularity had dropped to 9.7 percent from 35.6 percent.
According to the UNZA-PF think tank, Mr Lungu is destined to amass 66 percent of the vote in Central Province while Mr Hichilema would only receive 23 percent, with the rest of the political parties sharing the remainder of the votes.
Dr Nyambe predicted that MMD president Nevers Mumba would come second on the Copperbelt with 13 percent of the vote while Mr Hichilema in third place was likely to receive 6.8 percent while Mr Lungu would get 77 percent.
“The Patriotic Front presidential candidate Edgar Lungu is likely to win this election with a significant 62.7 percent and given the low margins of error in our sample, the opinion poll results presented in this study are a fairly accurate reflection of what would happen after the Tuesday vote. The UPND leader Mr Hakainde Hichilema is unlikely to win this election as he will get a paltry 21 percent although he will record a 3 percent increase in comparison to his poor performance in the 2011 general elections. However the UPND president will unseat the MMD from the second position,” Dr Nyambe said.
According to the opinion poll, Mr Lungu was likely to win the Eastern Province vote with a 76 percent margin followed by Dr Mumba with 7 percent while Mr Hichilema has been placed at a distant third.
It has been predicted that Mr Lungu was likely to sweep Luapula, Lusaka, Muchinga and Northern provinces with a vote above 80 percent leaving Mr Hichilema only averaging 5 percent in these provinces.
Dr Nyambe said that Mr Hichilema was only going to win in Southern, Western and North-Western Provinces with highest vote coming from Southern region which would give him 72 percent.
But Mr Siakalima said the UNZA-PF think tank was nothing but a fabrication of figures meant to please Mr Lungu, adding that even if the ruling party wanted to cheat themselves, they should have avoided exaggerating their popularity.
He said the PF was far behind in real percentages and was frantically working at catching up with the UPND but that time was against them because the ruling party and its entire leadership had been largely rejected.
“Even when the PF want to lie, they should attempt to come close to reality. It is not being realistic to predict that Mr Lungu is going to win in six provinces and Mr Hichilema only in three when the ruling party has been frantically working at catching up with us. My advice is that let the PF prepare Mr Lungu for defeat so that he does not get shocked after Tuesday. Let them not give Mr Lungu false hopes and confidence that he can win the election because we are far ahead in this race,” Mr Siakalima said.