President Edgar Lungu concedes to Hakainde Hichilema – .

President Edgar Lungu concedes to Hakainde Hichilema – .

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

“I would therefore like to congratulate my brother, the President-elect, His Excellency Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, on becoming the seventh Republican President.

The electoral commission said Hichilema won 2,810,777 votes against 1,814,201 for Lungu, with all 156 constituencies counted except one.

Lungu thanked the people of Zambia for giving them “the opportunity to be your president”.

“I will cherish and appreciate forever this authority that you have invested in me. My compatriots, women and young people, all I ever wanted to do was serve my country to the best of my ability.
“Of course there were challenges along the way. But what I appreciated the most, with your support during the difficult times.

“Finally, I want to thank everyone who voted for my party, the Patriotic Front, and myself. To you, I say that your vote was not in vain. Thank you for continuing to support us. “

Peaceful transition

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 the UPND party from Hichilema 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. ”

Dance and sing

Across Zambia, celebrations erupted in the streets as Hichilema supporters wearing the red and yellow of his United National Development Party (UPND) danced and sang, while drivers honked their horns.

The celebrations could be short lived, however: Zambia is in dire financial straits and became the continent’s first sovereign default in the pandemic era in November after failing to meet international debt payments.

This was due to an explosive mix of depressed commodity prices – which had pushed Zambia into recession long before the pandemic – and a sharp slowdown in economic activity caused by the pandemic itself.

Hichilema, 59, a former CEO of an accounting firm before entering politics, must now attempt to revive Zambia’s fortunes. The economy has been only slightly supported by more favorable copper prices – now hovering around decade highs, in part thanks to the electric car boom.

Africa’s largest copper miner

Last year, Zambia, Africa’s second largest copper miner, produced record metal production.

Support from the International Monetary Fund is suspended until after the vote, as is a debt restructuring plan seen as a first test for a new global plan to ease the burden on poor countries. Read more

Lungu, 64, has yet to concede defeat and has indicated he could challenge the result, which will be difficult given the margin.

Lungu said on Saturday that the election was “not free and fair” after incidents of violence against agents of the ruling Patriotic Front party in three provinces, and that the party was consulting on its next course of action.

UPND officials dismissed Lungu’s statement as coming from people “trying to annul the whole election just to hang on to their jobs.”

If Lungu wants to settle a dispute or cancel an election, he must apply to the Constitutional Court within seven days to file a complaint after a winner is announced.

Hichilema’s victory reverses a narrow loss in the 2016 presidential election to Lungu.


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