Lazarus Chakwera congratulates Zambia’s Hichilema
President Lazarus Chakwera Monday congratulated Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema for emerging the winner of last Thursday’s presidential election.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chairperson Justice Esau Chulu indicated that the 59-year-old veteran opposition leader, who was contesting in a presidential election for the record sixth time, got 2,810,757 votes against 1,814,201 for the 64-year-old incumbent leader Edgar Lungu.
In 2016’s presidential election that pitted Lungu against Hichilema, the latter lost by 100,000 votes. This time around, Hichilema, who was contesting against Lungu for the third time, won by a landslide, chalking 996,556 votes more than the ruling Patriotic Front (PF)’s Patriotic Front’s Lungu.
Briefing reporters in Lilongwe during the State House fortnightly briefing, State House Director of Communications Sean Kampondeni said Chakwera had wished Hichilema robust health and insight as he diligently serves the people of Zambia.
“His Excellency the President has expressed his congratulations to the Zambian people for expressing their will in a civil and peaceful and orderly manner.
“The President has congratulated the president-elect of Zambia and wishes him well and robust health,” Kampondeni said, adding that Chakwera looks forward to working closely with Hichilema as he forges ahead in the development not only of Zambia but other countries such as Malawi as well.
In his speech, outgoing president Lungu conceded defeat and said he was committed to a smooth transfer of power, which is expected in the coming days.
In his acceptance speech, Hichilema extended an olive branch to his predecessor.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be OK, you won’t face retribution or get tear-gassed,” said Hichilema, who was often attacked in what he said were attempts to silence and intimidate him as an opposition leader.
He pledged to be president of all Zambians, whether they voted for him or not.
The huge margin of Hichilema’s victory means there is no need for a run-off.
Meanwhile, Malawi’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Rejoice Shumba has said the outcome of the presidential election in Zambia would not affect participation at the 41st Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government Summit because Lungu had not confirmed his attendance.—Daily News
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.