Malawi president Lazarus Chakwera has sent a congratulatory message to his new Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema, who emerged victorious in last week’s Zambia presidential election.
“The First Lady and I would like to congratulate His Excellency, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema for his victory in the just ended Zambia presidential election, becoming Zambia’s 7th president,” President Chakwera said in a brief statement from the State House, wishing the Zambia President-elect “robust health and insight as he diligently serves the people of Zambia.”
Hichilema amassed 2, 810, 777 votes against Lungu’s 1, 814, 201 in all but one of the 156 constituencies counted, according to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
On Monday, August 16, 2021, ECZ chairperson Justice Esau Chulu declared Hichilema as Zambia’s President-elect.
“I therefore declare the said Hakainde Hichilema to be president-elect of the Republic of Zambia,” Chulu said in a televised address.
The victory comes after sixth attempts by Hichilema at winning the presidency, and international media reports say that “his supporters have been celebrating on the streets of the capital, Lusaka.”
Outgoing President Lungu had on Saturday issued a statement declaring the elections as “not free and fair” mentioning that election officials from his Patriotic Front (PF) had been chased from polling stations, leaving votes unprotected.
But Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND), in a written response, described Lungu’s claims as the “desperate final act of an outgoing administration”.
Nyasa Times has learnt that Hichilema was born into humble beginnings in the southern district of Monze.
He managed to get a scholarship to the University of Zambia, and later graduated with an MBA degree from the University of Birmingham in the UK. He later became the head of two major accounting firms before entering politics.
Zambia’s local press say that Hichilema has described himself as an ordinary “cattle boy”. He has contested and lost every election held in Zambia since 2006. However, each time he has increased his share of the vote.
In 2016, Hichilema said the election was stolen from him after he lost to Lungu by just 100,000 votes. He also faced a horde of problems with authorities since his entering politics.
After the 2016 election, he was charged with treason for allegedly failing to give way to the presidential motorcade. He spent four months in a maximum-security jail before the charges were dropped.
In a media briefing held at his residence in New Kasama, Hichilema said there would be “no favouritism” in his governance style.
Outgoing President Lungu, who conceded defeat, said on Monday afternoon that he would peacefully hand over power to Hichilema.
~Additional reporting by Pius Nyondo, Nyasa Times.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :