“We’ve looked into this and can confirm that there seems to be a social media shutdown affecting our apps and others, like Twitter,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN.
CNN could not independently verify the social media blackout. The Office of the President and the Zambian government didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu is seeking re-election, with businessman Hakainde Hichilema his main challenger. International agencies and diplomatic missions have reported high election turnout, with queues hundreds of meters long forming before dawn.
In the early afternoon, local time, President Lungu posted on Facebook and later on Twitter: “Today I voted with love for Zambia. I voted early together with my wife, Esther, at Crawford School in Chawama. The process was smooth and peaceful, and I hope it is the same at all polling stations around our country.”
“Voting is a democratic right and a serious civic duty, so go exercise it and choose the best leaders for your constituency and our country,” Lungu added. “I also want to appeal to you that we maintain peace and unity. We must bury our political differences and put Zambia first,” he said.
Opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema also posted on Twitter and Facebook on Thursday, where he live-streamed his trip to the polls.
“Freedom fighters, spent over six years in the bush to get us political independence. We are asking you to be patient, brave the weather and cast your vote,” Hichilema said in a separate Facebook post.