Campaign text messages were reportedly sent from an Airtel Zambia office in the region where the hotly contested poll was due to take place, according to Zambia Reports.
The messages were promoting the Patriotic Front (PF) candidate in Livingstone and since they were reported the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has postponed the election until March 14.
A manager at Airtel, who asked not to be named, said the messages were sent from a “dummy number” from the Lusaka office.
One angry resident, Mbololwa Simasiku of Dambwa North, said: “First of all, why are they sending the messages to people of Livingstone only and how do they know that these numbers belong to Livingstone residents?
“This goes to show that Airtel is now being controlled by the PF government. I'm sure this is why they wanted people to register their sim-cards so that they can be sending propaganda messages to citizens.”
The suspension of the by-election has been praised by the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, who have also accused the PF of stealing voting cards.
The PF have reacted angrily, saying it is what their rivals, including the United Party for National Development (UPND), wanted from the beginning.
Obvious Mwaliteta, PF campaign manager, said: “This is what they wanted, they know the amount of work that PF has done on the grounds and they know that they were losing the election. We are very disappointed with the decision by ECZ because there were just praying in the hands of the opposition.”