Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema sworn in as president in rare victory for African opposition leader


Hichilema was inaugurated Tuesday morning in a ceremony attended by leaders such as Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Malawian leader Lazarus Chakwera.

Zambia’s second female vice president, Mutale Nalumango, was also sworn in at the ceremony.

Hichilema beat incumbent President Edgar Lungu in a landslide by nearly a million votes in his sixth attempt to become ruler of Zambia.

It was a startling turnaround for the politician known as HH – Hichilema spent several months in prison in 2017 on what were widely viewed as politically motivated treason charges. The charges were dropped under intense international pressure.

After initially indicating that he might challenge the result, Lungu addressed the nation after the elections, saying: “Based on the revelations released in the final results, I will comply with the constitutional provisions for a peaceful transition of power.” .

Despite conceding defeat early on, Lungu was booed by part of the crowd as he made his way to the stage at the crowded Heroes Stadium in the capital Lusaka to cede power.

Hichilema called Tuesday the “new dawn in Zambia” in a tweet ahead of the ceremony. “As I sit here in our vehicle driven to Heroes Stadium, I see love, joy and jubilation as people line the streets on our way. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I love you all so much,” he added. .

An example for Africa

Opposition leaders from other African countries were also invited to the event.

Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition in Zimbabwe, told CNN: “This is an important and fantastic step for what is possible for the future of Africa. Zambia is an inspiration for the latecomers stubbornness of democracy. Strong institutions are essential for effective power transfer and smooth transitions, “he said in a statement, when asked about the meaning of today’s inauguration.

Chamisa added that Zambia is a great example to emulate on the continent.

Supporters of the Zambian president-elect for the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema party remove a poster of former President Edgar Lungu from a post in Lusaka on August 16, 2021.

“Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular need leaders, not leaders, strong institutions – not strong men. Leaders must lead and go, serve and go. Zimbabwe must be free and democratic. Freedom can be delayed but never denied, “he said when asked what the message is for Zimbabwe.

This is the third time that power has passed peacefully from a ruling party to an opposition since the southern African nation gained independence from Britain in 1964.

There was a huge turnout, mostly young people, some came in their college gowns to protest the lack of jobs after graduation.

Joseph Kalimbwe, a young representative of Hichilema’s UPND party told CNN.

“The young people gave us the vote. Four million young people between the ages of 18 and 24 have registered to vote. The turnout was huge and it was very personal for them. They want to make sure their parents’ mistakes are corrected. They voted for our leader on the basis that he has better policies and ideas and can strengthen our state institutions. ”

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