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Zambians Go to the Polls in a Tight Presidential Election with No China-Bashing, For Once

A man casts his ballot at a polling station in Lusaka on August 12, 2021 as Zambians elect their next president after a tense campaign dominated by economic woes in Africa's first coronavirus-era sovereign defaulting country. Patrick Meinhardt / AFP

Ballots are now being counted in Zambia’s general election that took place on Thursday. Presidential incumbent Edgar Lungu faces opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema in a contest that has been too close to call for weeks. 

While Zambia’s beleaguered economy and surging debt levels have been the key issue throughout the campaign, very little attention was focused on China or the presence of Chinese migrants in the country. This is notable because in previous elections dating back to the early 2010s when then opposition leader Michael Sata won the presidency on a populist anti-Chinese platform, politicians at various levels have frequently used similar tactics.

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