SANF 21 no 24 – by Clarkson Mambo
Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development has won the presidential election in Zambia and has been declared President-Elect by the electoral commission.
Hichilema, who was the main opposition candidate in Zambia’s August 12 general elections polled 2, 810,757 votes, defeating the incumbent President Edgar Lungu who polled 1,814,201 votes. The other 14 presidential candidates trailed far behind.
The declaration of Hichilema as the President-Elect was despite the fact that results from one constituency out of the 156 constituencies were still pending. The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), Justice Esau Chulu said the pending result would not have any material effect on the overall outcome.
“I therefore declare the said Hichilema Hakainde to be President-Elect of Zambia on this 16th day of August 2021,” Justice Chulu said.
Born on 4 June 1962, Hichilema is a well-known businessman in Zambia’s corporate sector. He has a degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Zambia and a Masters in Finance and Business Strategy from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
Affectionately known as HH, he rose to political fame when he won the party leadership of the United Party for National Development (UPND) in 2006, following the death of the founding president of party, Anderson Mazoka. Since then, he contested in national elections in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016 in which he lost.
He faced President Lungu in the last two elections and narrowly lost.
Hichilema becomes the seventh President of Zambia since independence in 1964 after Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, the founding President, and Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda, Michael Sata, and Edgar Lungu.
President Lungu, who came to power in 2015 and was seeking a second term in office, has conceded defeat.
“We held our general elections on Thursday, 12 August 2021, and the Electoral Commission of Zambia has released final election results. Based on the revelation of the ECZ final results, I will comply with the constitutional provisions for peaceful transfer of power.”
“I would therefore like to congratulate my brother, the President-Elect, His Excellency, Mr Hakainde Hichilema for becoming the Seventh Republican President.”
While 7,023,499 voters were registered for the election, the total voter turnout was provisionally 70.95 percent, up from 56.45 percent in 2016.
Hichilema dominated the vote in six provinces – Central, Copperbelt, Lusaka, North Western, Southern and Western, while President Lungu dominated in only four.
In the August 12 elections, Zambians also voted for Members of Parliament and Local Government representatives.
As early results came in, President Lungu had called on the ECZ to declare polls in three provinces, namely Southern, North Western and Western “a nullity”, arguing that his party agents had been ben attacked.
“We have written to the Electoral Commission of Zambia but they have continued announcing the results. So we are consulting on the next decision we have to make,” he said at the time.
But following the ECZ’s declaration of a winner, he said, “I want to thank you, Zambian people for giving me a great opportunity to be your President, I will forever cherish and appreciate that authority you vested in me.
“All I ever wanted to do was to serve my country to the best of my abilities, and together with you, we indeed scored in many areas, of course there were challenges on the way. What I appreciated most was your support during the tough times.”
Observer missions from the African Union and European Union, in their preliminary reports, applauded Zambians for going out in large numbers to vote and the ECZ for handling the elections in a professional manner despite challenges faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Despite reports of the unlevelled playing field and politically motivated violence during the pre-electoral period, and Covid-19 related challenges, in general, AUEOM (African Union Election Observer Mission) observers reported that Election Day operations were conducted in a peaceful, transparent and professional manner,” said AU mission leader, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
“The AUEOM commends the people of Zambia for their clear enthusiasm and determination to peacefully express their will through the ballot box.”
The Southern African Development Community observed the elections virtually, and is yet to release its observations. sardc.net
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