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Zambia inaugurates Hakainde Hichilema as new president

By Betty Njeru | August 24th 2021

Zambia’s incoming president Hakainde Hichilema (R) and his son Habwela Hakainde in the capital, Lusaka, Zambia. [Reuters]


Hakainde Hichilema has today, August 24, been sworn in as Zambia’s new president.

The inauguration took place at the National Heroes Stadium in the capital, Lusaka.

Earlier, we reported that thousands of guests, including Heads of State and various opposition leaders graced the event.

Hichilema’s running mate Mutale Nalumango is also being sworn in.

The incoming president has invited opposition leaders from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Botswana.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa is in the country to attend Hichilema’s inauguration. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is also in attendance.

Other African leaders who have already arrived include Namibia President Hage Geingob, Kenya’s former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu and Malawi’s Lazarus Chakwera.  

Odinga who arrived in Lusaka yesterday tweeted: “It will be a great day for the people of Zambia and Africa as a whole to witness a seamless transfer of power as envisaged by democratic processes.”

Outgoing President Edgar Lungu, who has been in office for 10 years congratulated Hichilema, saying Zambians ought to be proud of their democracy.

“We must all be happy that even after a highly contested election, it is the Zambian people who won. It is peace and unity that triumphed. I'm proud that our transfer of power has been smooth, adding to our enduring legacy as a democratic country, which started with Dr Kaunda,” Lunga said.

Zambia’s National Broadcaster said attendance at the inauguration will be restricted to only invited guests, in adherence to Covid-19 protocols.  

Guests await the inauguration of Zambia’s incoming president Hakainde Hichilema. [Courtesy]

The opposition leader won the August 12 General Election by a landslide, beating his main rival, outgoing president Edgar Lungu by more than a million votes.

Hichilema garnered 2,810,777 votes against Lungu’s 1,814,201.

Zambia’s Electoral Commission declared him winner on August 16. "I therefore declare that the said Hichilema to be president of Zambia," electoral commission chairman, Esau Chulu, said in a packed results centre in the capital Lusaka.

Hichilema, 59, has unsuccessfully vied for presidency five times. He becomes the country’s seventh president.

He has led the United Party for National Development (UPND) since 2006.


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