FACEBOOK, WhatsApp and Twitter have remained restricted for citizens who are using local area networks to access the Internet.

And the counting of votes is underway across the country with some ‘unexpected’ results in some polling stations.

The government shut down social media networks in the afternoon on August 12 while people queued up to cast their votes, prompting netizens mostly the youths and first time voters to switch to virtual private networks in order to follow election related news.

No government official has given an explanation on the switching down of social media platforms and the unprecedented intervention has seen a massive redaction in social media traffic and incident reporting.

A major incident occurred in North Western Province where one PF official was hacked to death, prompting a statement from the incumbent President who did not only condemned the development but also lamented that “elections have not been free and fair in the Western and Southern region”.

Meanwhile, the counting of votes has progressed slowly but steadily at regional totaling centers with no major interruptions or incidences reported so far.

A News Diggers monitoring crew reported a slight edge in favour of the opposition UPND from the sampling of polling stations announced at the Lusaka Province totaling center.

From verified results recorded at Kabulonga Boys Secondray Schools polling station One, Hakainde Hichilema polled 432 out of 663 valid votes counted, while the incumbent Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front trailed with 214.

The rest of the 14 presidential candidates only managed between zero and three votes, with 4 spoiled ballots.

Parliamentary results from St Mary’s School One showed that UPND’s Haimbe Mulambo polled 166 votes better than former PF MP Margaret Mwanakatwe with 379 and 213 respectively.

The election results sampling in Lusaka also exhibited a two horse race characteristic at parliamentary and Mayoral level, as other party candidates only managed less than 20 per cent of the votes collectively.

Other unverified results whose figures we are unable to publish owing to new electoral laws, show that the UPND has a slight edge over the ruling party.

Notable among other results are some polling stations in Eastern Province where the Head of State has been narrowly defeated. The ‘unexpected’ preliminary results, yet to be confirmed by the commission also show that the opposition UPND has won some major polling stations on the Copperbelt and the northern block, specifically Nakonde.

It is however, too early to tell which way the election will turn out as the restricted sharing of information is expected to further slow down the process.

Updated August 13 at 07:00 hours