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  1. Polls close in Zambia election
  2. Zambians voted in presidential, parliamentary and local elections
  3. Hakainde Hichelema expected to be President Edgar Lungu's main challenger
  4. Zambians also deciding on a constitutional change
  5. South Africa wins rowing silver medal
  6. South Africa returns as Africa's largest economy replacing Nigeria
  7. Egypt wins two Olympic weightlifting medals
  8. Get Involved in Zambia: Send us your pictures to WhatsApp: +44 7341070844
  9. Email stories and comments to - Thursday 11 August 2016

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Damian Zane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Thursday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the BBC Africa Live page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website

A reminder of today's wise words:

Whenever you provide support to the plantain tree, provide equal support to the banana tree."

An Ashanti proverb sent by Dawereso Boateng from Asante-Akyem, Agogo, Ghana, and Emmanuel Oscar from Detroit, Michigan, US

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this picture of South African rowers Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling collecting their silver medals after their race at the Rio Olympics today.

awrence Brittain of South Africa and Shaun Keeling of South Africa celebrate winning the silver medal in the Men's Pair Final A on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Lagoa Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images

Zambia election: Polls close, counting to start soon

Twelve hours after they opened, polls have officially closed in Zambia.

Exceptions are being made for the polling stations which opened late - they will stay open later to compensate for the lost time.

A BBC reporter in Lusaka has tweeted what's going on at one polling station:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The vote counting should start soon.

You can hear more from Akwasi on Focus on Africa on the BBC World Service at 17:00 GMT.

Zambia's election 'is unique'

Nomsa Maseko

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Polling station
Getty Images

This is an election like no other. 

Each voter is being given five ballot papers - presidential, parliamentary, mayoral, local government and a referendum. All of these to be decided on one day. 

The five ballot papers each represent a separate vote. 

They are orange, red, purple, black and tan. 

The political landscape is fluid. There's been a shifting of political allegiances which in other parts of the continent would be seen as a betrayal. 

  • Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba is Hakainde Hichilema's running mate for the United Party for National Development. But before this he was the defence minister in late Michael Sata's Patriotic Front government. 
  • Whilst the country's former deputy president Guy Scott, whose wife is seeking a position as a lawmaker in Lusaka central constituency to replace her husband, has endorsed Edgar Lungu's main rival Hakainde Hichilema. 
  • And lastly, Mulenga Sata, son of the late President Sata has also defected to Mr Hichilema's UPND. 

Zambia election: Posing with voter card

The BBC's Meluse Kapatamoyo in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, has been out and about snapping voters posing with their voter cards.

Voter with id card
Voter with id card
Voter with id card

There were nearly 6.7 million registered voters and reports say that turnout has been high, though that needs to be confirmed by the electoral commission.

Polls are about to close.

Tanzania bans newspaper for "false stories"

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam


Tanzania's government has banned the weekly newspaper Mseto for publishing false stroies, the information minister has announced. 

Nape Nnauye accused the paper of using fake government documents "that only aim to tarnish the image of President John Magufuli’s and other government officials”.

The Swahili tabloid is banned from publishing in print and online for 36 months.  

This is the second newspaper to be banned since the new government came to power less than a year ago.

Press freedom activists have long been calling the repeal of the 1976 Newspaper Act that gives wide powers to the authorities to ban publications.

South Africa overtakes Nigeria - again

South Africa is once more the biggest economy in Africa, after overtaking Nigeria.

It's because the economy is measured in US dollars and the Nigerian naira has depreciated rapidly against the dollar in recent months.

See more here:

South Africa overtakes Nigeria - again

Zambia election: Polls to close soon

Polls are due to close at 6pm local time (16:00 GMT) in Zambia, where people have been voting in presidential, parliamentary and local elections - as well as in a constitutional referendum.

A Twitter account monitoring the Zambian election has been sharing the mood in two places in the south of the country.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

A first for Egypt, for the second time

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Sara Ahmed
Getty images

We just reported that weightlifter Sara Ahmed is the first ever Egyptian woman to get an Olympic medal.

But she might not always be.

How could that be?

Well, her compatriot Abeer Abdelrahman could yet be awarded a silver medal from the London 2012 Olympics in the same weightlifting event.

She originally finished fifth overall in London.  

But medals are likely to be taken away from three other competitors for failing drugs tests. 

If and when the International Olympic Committee reallocate those medals, Abdelrahman could get one.

But, whatever happens, Ahmed will always be the first Egyptian woman on the Olympic podium.

Sara Ahmed
Getty Images

Zambia election: Dapper dressers go to vote in Lusaka

Reader Micheal Phiri sent us these pictures of two men spotted shortly before they went out to vote in Zambia's capital, Lusaka this morning.

Possibly two of the sharpest dressed voters today.

Suited man with guitar
Micheal Phiri
Suited man
Micheal Phiri

Angola military 'lament' death of boy during protest

The Angolan armed forces has offered its condolences to the family of 14-year-old Rufino Marciano Antonio who, according to Human Rights Watch, was shot dead during a peaceful protest after military police opened fire.

The armed forces said in a statement:

Since the primary mission of the armed forces is to defend the nation, to which the population is an essential part that deserves our respect, protection and dedication, we lament the incident...

We are currently taking actions to avoid similar incidents occuring in the future."

The military will now investigate the incident, according to the statement.

Rufino Antonio's student card
Human Rights Watch
Rufino Antonio's student card

Egypt's first female Olympic medalist wasn't allowed to delay exams

Sara Ahmed
Getty Images

Last night Egyptian Sara Ahmed won bronze in weightlifting, making her the first ever female Egyptian to win a medal at the Olympics.

It turns out that she has given up quite a lot to get this far.

The education ministry refused the 18-year-old's requests for her high school exams to be delayed, she told Sada al-Balad TV.

So she decided to drop her final exams to attend a training camp for the Olympics. 

There was outrage on social media at the education ministry's decision, reports BBC Monitoring’s Doaa Soliman. 

Ahmed plans to take the exams next year.

Bikes not bombs in birthplace of Boko Haram

After motorcycles were banned in Maiduguri, due to Boko Haram attacks, bicycles became popular.

As peace returns to the city in north-east Nigeria, the popularity of bikes is providing an economic boom.

Bikes not bombs in Nigerian birthplace of Boko Haram

Video journalist: Roderick MaCleod

Zambia election: Beautiful voting surroundings

We've just received a picture from what we think must be one of the most verdant polling stations in Zambia.

Reader Parvena Paul Masala sent it to us from Chipata in the east of Zambia.

People at a polling station
Parvena Paul Masala

He says people were still streaming in with just a few hours to go until polls closed.

You can send us your photos to our WhatsApp number +44 7341070844.

BreakingSouth African rowers win Olympics silver medal

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

South African rowers Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling have just won the silver medal in the final of the men's pair event in Rio.

The race was won easily by Eric Murray and Hamish Bond of New Zealand, who won their 69th straight race.

'Sexual' novel seized at Ugandan primary school

In Uganda, a book by popular British children's writer Jacqueline Wilson has been removed from a primary school library by the country's ethics minister.

Love Lessons is partly about a crush that a 14-year-old pupil has on her teacher.

Minister Simon Lokodo told the AFP news agency:

The books contained literature on sex and these books are not suitable for primary pupils."

He also described in the New Vision newspaper what action was taken:

I stormed Greenhill Academy this morning and they confessed that in their library they had copies of the book."

The New Vision is also reporting that some parents were upset that the book was available in the library.

Mr Lokodo has become well known in Uganda for clamping down on what he sees as immoral behaviour.

Last week, he forced the cancellation of a Gay Pride march and he also says that he is importing a machine that can detect if people have downloaded pornography from the internet.

Zambia election: 'Voting was awesome'

Readers have been sending in their voting pictures to our WhatsApp number +44 7341070844.

Omar in Lusaka shared this one of his inked thumb:

Inked thumb

Thandiwe sent us this message: 

I went to vote, and the experience was awesome. I was voting for the first time. I woke up at 3.30 am just so I could queue up. The polling station opened at around 6am and I cast my vote!"

And Simon Siame Penza sent us this message from the Copperbelt Province:

I just voted. We are a peaceful nation and I am proud to be a Zambian."

Zambia election: President happy with voter turnout

Zambia's president, who is facing eight challengers in today's election, has tweeted his election day thoughts:

View more on twitter

The head of the European Union observer mission has echoed the president's remarks:

View more on twitter

The EU mission has been sharing photos of the voter queues on its Facebook page:

Voters queueing

Cholera outbreak in CAR

Young men get their dose of oral cholera vaccine inside a tent of the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), at their Tongping base in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on March 1, 2014.
Getty Images
An oral vaccine can protect against the disease which can lead to fatal dehydration

Central African Republic's health minister says at least 12 people have died from cholera since the beginning of August, reports AP news agency. 

Fernande Ndjengbot said that 19 cases had been registered, eight of whom had died in Ndjoukou, where cholera first surfaced, about 300km (186 miles) south-east of Bangui . 

Health authorities say that Unicef is working on a water purification programme to help provide safe public drinking water.

Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease, usually spread by contaminated water and food, and can cause severe diarrhea that in extreme cases can lead to fatal dehydration and kidney failure within hours. 

South Africans row into Olympic final

South Africa's Lee-Ann Persse (R) and South Africa's Kate Christowitz row during the Women's Pair rowing competition at the Lagoa stadium during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 8, 2016.
Getty Images
Persse's and Christowitz will compete in the final on Friday

South African Olympic rowers Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler have just come first in their semi-final of the women's double skulls. 

Earlier South Africa's Lee-Ann Persse and Kate Christowitz also rowed their way into the finals of the women's pairs, coming third in their race. 

Both pairs will compete in the final on Friday.

We have a bonanza of South African rowers competing at the Olympics in Rio today, as we reported earlier

UN want international observers in Ethiopia

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

A protester chants slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia"s capital Addis Ababa, August 6, 2016
Oromo protesters took to the streets of the capital, Addis Ababa, on Saturday

The United Nations has urged Ethiopia to allow international observers into parts of country recently affected by violent protests. 

The UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said there had been no genuine attempt to investigate the violence or to find out who was responsible. 

The human rights group Amnesty International says around 100 people were killed in demonstrations in the Oromia and Amhara regions at the weekend. 

Others say the number was lower. 

The Oromo and Amhara are Ethiopia's largest ethnic groups. 

One of the issues they have been protesting about is land.

Read more: What is behind Ethiopia's wave of protests?

Zambia election: Presidential candidates vote

We've already seen President Edgar Lungu voting in Lusaka, and other candidates have also been casting their ballots.

There are nine people in all running for election.

Our reporter has tweeted pictures of the only female presidential hopeful:

View more on twitter

Mr Lungu's main challenger, Hakainde Hichilema, has also just voted in Lusaka.

The action was played live on his Facebook page:

Hakainde Hichilema
Hakainde Hichilema

After voting he gave an impromptu press conference, telling journalists that Zambians are expecting "free, fair, transparent and credible elections".

He also alleged that one of the election officials inside the polling station was a known member of the governing PF party. The electoral commission has made no comment about this.

To be declared the winner of the poll, a candidate must secure one vote more than 50% of the ballots cast.

If there is no outright winner after today the top two candidates will go forward into a second round.

South Africa Olympians rowers compete in finals

Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling
Getty Images
South Africa's Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling are due to race in men's pairs finals today

The first African Olympians to compete in Rio today will be in the rowing in a few minutes.

But it is subject to the weather.

The event was meant to take place yesterday but was postponed to today because of high winds. 

It's the second time that the rowing has been postponed.

Lee-Ann Persse and Kate Christowitz start things off in the in the semi-finals of the women's pairs at 11:30 GMT.

But if you're a medal counter, then you should be looking out to see if South Africa's Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling get hold of a medal in the men's pairs final at at 13:44 GMT.

The ANC's 'time for introspection'

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

For the African National Congress (ANC) it's the morning after the night before as its National Executive Committee (NEC) meets for the first time since last week's bruising local government elections.

The ANC won more than 50% of the votes nationwide but suffered setbacks in some key urban areas.

The NEC will be looking at the best possible coalition partners as negotiations continue to form local councils.

The 104-year-old ANC lost control of major metropolitan areas including Johannesburg, Tshwane, which includes the capital, Pretoria,  Nelson Mandela Bay and Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg.

Soon after the votes were counted the party's deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa said it is time for "introspection."

Votes out of the box

Zambia election: 'Calm and peaceful' so far

Zambia's electoral commission has given its first briefing on the progress of the elections so far.

The commission's director, Priscilla Isaac, has said that there has been a good turnout at the polling stations in the country and voting has been "calm and peaceful".

Voters in Zambia

Zambia election: 'I don't care how long I have to wait'

A BBC reporter has been tweeting pictures from the queues patient people at polling stations in Zambia's capital, Lusaka.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Dinner may not be available but Akwasi spotted one person selling some treats to keep the voters going:

View more on twitter

Zambia election: President Lungu votes

Zambia's incumbent President Edgar Lungu has cast his vote at a polling station in the capital, Lusaka.

A BBC reporter was there to catch the moment after he left the polling station:

View more on twitter

Akwasi had to battle with the crowds to get his picture:

View more on twitter

Father of Zephany Nurse 'will never forgive' snatcher

A South Africa man has said outside court that he will never forgive the woman who took his baby in 1997.

He was speaking after arguments at the sentencing hearing wrapped up:  

View more on twitter

A reporter for South Africa's SABC News says the sentence will be announced next week:

View more on twitter

Zephany Nurse grew up thinking the woman who took her was her mother.

But she was eventually reunited with her biological parents after it was mentioned that a girl at school looked similar to her.

The girl turned out to be her biological sister.

Read more from March: Kidnapper of baby Zephany Nurse guilty

Zambia election: Voting situation so far

Zambia's electoral commission is holding its first briefing on the progress in the election so far.

They're reporting that 85% of all staff and materials were delivered by midnight last night.

Some polling stations have opened late, but they'll stay open later to compensate for the time lost.

You can watch it here.

Press conference

Zambia election: Calm queues of voters in Lusaka

Zambians queuing

The BBC's Akwasi Sarpong in the capital, Lusaka, says there has been a high turnout so far at polling centres in Zambia's capital.

Long, calm, orderly queues have formed and election monitors have not reported any complaints, he says.

Zambian election official
Zambian voting

Zambia election: Your voting pictures

Here's another great photo sent in by a reader of voters queuing in Zambia:

People queing
Joseph Cheelo

The shadows give away that it couldn't have been much after sunrise.

Joseph Cheelo took the photo in Mazabuka, south-west of the capital, Lusaka.

Send your election pictures to us via whatsapp: +447341070844 

South Africa unseats Nigeria as the continent's biggest economy

Matthew Davies

Editor, BBC Africa Business Report

South Africa has become the largest economy in Africa... again. 

For the past two years, Nigeria has claimed the top spot, but a re-calculation using current exchange rates has placed South Africa back on top. 

The new calculations are based on the International Monetary Fund's gross domestic product numbers for the two countries in 2015. 

Over the course of this year so far, South Africa's rand and Nigeria's naira have been moving in opposite directions against the dollar - for the rand a gain of around 16%, while the naira has lost a third of its value since effectively abandoning its peg to the US greenback. 

But there's not much in it - at $301bn South Africa beats Nigeria by just $5bn.

Both economies are at risk of falling into recession, as they both contracted in the first quarter of this year. 

Naira notes
The change is due to the depreciation of the naira against the dollar

Zambia election: Voters queue at sunrise

Reader Chilala Brendon has sent us this photo of voters queuing in the small town of Monze in Southern Province, Zambia.

voters queue
Chilala Brendon

Send your election pictures to us via whatsapp: +447341070844

Zambia election: Observers out and about

Observers from African Union and European Union are in Zambia watching today's polls.

They include Nigeria's former president who is heading the AU team:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The EU team are also sharing pictures:

View more on twitter

Polling agents 'turned up late' to Zambia vote

A civil society election monitoring group is tweeting its preliminary report on the state of today's elections in Zambia so far.

It's noted a few issues in some places:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Zambia's multi-party politics

Zambia has been held up as an example of democracy on the continent and has a long history of peaceful elections and incumbents giving up power.

In 1991, independence leader Kenneth Kaunda handed power to Frederick Chiluba of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD). This was after he lost the first election since the return of multi-party elections.

In 2011, incumbent President Rupiah Banda lost to the Popular Front's Michael Sata.

Also, two presidents have died in office - Levy Mwanawasa in 2008 and Michael Sata in 2014 - and in both cases presidential by-elections were organised.

Former and first Zambian president Kenneth David Kaunda
Independence leader Kenneth Kaunda handed power to Frederick Chiluba after losing the 1991 election

Zambia election: People with painted nails allowed to vote

Zambia's electoral commission has said that women with painted nails or false nails can vote in today's election.

The commission published this post on Facebook yesterday: 


One commentor complained that she was still asked to take her nails off at her polling station.

Another urged the commission to make sure all the workers at polling stations know the change in rules. 

And a third got frustrated that people were also commenting about the candidates:

"The post is about painted nails, and fake nails. Hence comments should be in line with that," it said.

Rio Olympics update: Three African medals overnight

Sara Ahmed
Sara Ahmed is the first Egyptian woman to win a medal in weighlifting

There were three more bronze medals late on Day 5 of the Rio Olympics for Africa.

Tunisia’s Ines Boubakri claimed bronze in the women’s individual foil event in the fencing while Egypt’s duo Sara Ahmed and Mohamed Ihab both won bronzes in weightlifting.

Boubakri lost her semi-final narrowly to the reigning Olympic champions Elisa Di Francisca before then overcoming Russia’s Aida Shanaeva in the bronze medal bout. 

It is a first-ever fencing medal for Tunisia and only the second ever for the continent after Egypts’ Alaaeldin Abouelkassem won silver in London four years ago

Egypt are the most successful African nation in weightlifting stretching back to 2 golds at the 1928 Games in Amsterdam – but Ahmed is the first woman to claim an Olympic weightlifting medal for Egypt as she came third in the women's 69kg. 

Ihab claimed his medal in the men’s 77kg category.

Zambian election: 'What's local government?' asks one voter

This activist appears disturbed by one voter's knowledge as they are about to vote in the Zambian elections:

View more on twitter

Meanwhile other tweeters are reporting long queues in some areas:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Zambia's 'Day of Judgement'

One tweeter has posted pictures of how the Zambian front pages are reporting today's elections.

The Times and the Mail are both state-owned which may explain why incumbent President Edgar Lungu is featured more prominently:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

New rules for this Zambian presidential election

There are two innovations in this presidential election in Zambia:

  • A candidate needs one vote more than 50% of the ballots cast in order to win the election. If no-one gets an absolute majority then there will be a second round with the top two candidates.
  • Each candidate has a running mate. This is to avoid a presidential by-election if the president dies in office - which has happened twice in the last 10 years.

Election posters