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Polling was generally smooth. But Ms. Siamana said that in one Lusaka neighborhood, voters claimed they saw a man with pre-marked ballot papers. She said a crowd burned the papers, as well as a truck and a small bar.

Police later arrested five people on charges of malicious damage and said the ballot papers burned were legitimate and had not been tampered with.

Mr. Banda has presented a four-year infrastructure development program that began this year. He pledges to repair, rebuild or upgrade more than 41,000 miles of roads. He already has helped facilitate the building of more than 100 bridges and 27 hospitals.

Mr. Sata’s campaign has at times appeared desperate. His party had gone to court to try to have Mr. Banda disqualified, arguing he was ineligible for re-election because both his parents were allegedly born outside the country.

A judge dismissed the petition on technical grounds. Mr. Banda, 74, was born before Zambia gained independence in 1964.

Mr. Sata and his party then turned to the South African company that printed the ballot papers, claiming it is corrupt and should not have been given the contract.

Both the company and the Electoral Commission of Zambia have denied the charges.

The populist Mr. Sata has in the past focused on the massive Chinese investment in the country. But he has toned down his anti-Chinese rhetoric in this campaign.

There’s some anxiety in Zambia about the aftermath of the vote. Mr. Sata’s supporters have rioted after previous losses, and the violence following recent elections elsewhere in Africa is on some minds here.

National Police Chief Francis Kabonde has ordered extra patrols in volatile areas and banned street vendors from selling liquor and implements such as shovels and axes that could be used as weapons.