Hakainde Hichilema is President-elect of Zambia

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H.E President Hakainde Hichilema

Hakainde Hichilema is President-elect of Zambia

UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema, 59, has officially been declared as the President-elect of Zambia, following his victory in the August 12 vote.

Mutale Nalumango, 66, has also been declared as the Vice-President-elect of Zambia.

Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson and presidential election returning officer Justice Esau Chulu made the declaration at a tightly guarded Mulungushi International Conference Centre – the national result venue – in Lusaka at 02:35 hours today.

The announcement sent accredited UPND officials in the auditorium into a frenzy, as numerous media cameras centred on them.

According to official results by the ECZ, Hichilema, a University of Zambia (UNZA) trained economist, polled 2,810,757 against his closest rival of the PF’s Edgar Lungu who managed 1,814,201 votes, in 155 out of 156 constituencies.

The difference between President-elect Hichilema’s votes and Lungu’s is 996,556.

This year’s victory for President-elect Hichilema comes against the backdrop of an antiquated public order Act whose administration by the police, especially under the Lungu regime, is/was ruthless.

On top of the unevenly applied public order Act, the coronavirus pandemic of 2019, which was first detected in Zambia in March 2020, somewhat emboldened the regime’s pretext of denying Hichilema and his like-mind to interface with would-be voters, including in the just-ended campaigns.

Hichilema has stood firm against all manner of full throttle ill-treatment by successive regimes, although it’s the despotic Lungu, who humiliated the Monze born Hichilema, the most.

In terms of joining mainstream politics, Hichilema, a business executive, was elected as the president of the United Party for National Development (UPND) on Friday, July 14, 2006, to replace deceased party founding president Anderson Kambela Mazoka.

His last corporate world job was at a private audit firm, Grant Thornton in Lusaka, where he was the chief executive officer.

At the 2006 UPND extraordinary general assembly in Lusaka, Hichilema, who is fondly called HH by millions, defeated then party deputy president Sakwiba Sikota, and another aspirant Baldwin Nchite.

Hichilema polled 512 votes, Sikota had 226 while Nchite had seven votes.

After that intraparty election, Hichilema lost the September 28, 2006, October 30, 2008, September 20, 2011, and the 2015 and 2016 Republican presidential votes.

This year’s vote was his sixth attempt and since he is the victor, he will be sworn-in as Zambia’s seventh President, a week from now.

Vice-President-elect Nalumango will be sworn-in alongside President-elect Hichilema and the former will be Zambia’s second woman to occupy the Republican Vice-Presidency, after outgoing Inonge Mutukwa Wina, who is 80.

Hichilema is married to Mutinta and they have a daughter, Miyanda and sons, Habwela and Chikonka.

In terms of Lungu’s rise to the Republican presidency, here is an abridged and apt version of it:
Following the death of Zambia’s fifth president Michael Chilufya Sata at a London hospital on October 28, 2014, Zambia held a spur-of-the-moment presidential vote on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

Lungu, who at the time of Sata’s death was the Minister of Justice, Minister of Defence, PF secretary general and acting Republican President, would later succeed the fascinating politician.

Lungu is a University of Zambia (UNZA) trained lawyer.

Many PF opinion leaders vouched for Lungu as a humble person, either because of residing (way back) in a humble Lusaka ghetto, Jack, or because of his timid disposition (again, way back).

In the January 2015 election, Lungu polled 807,925 votes (48.84 per cent), against his closest rival, Hichilema who got 780,168 votes (47.16 per cent).

Simple arithmetic would show that the duo was separated by a difference of 27, 757 votes.

On the rule of first-past-the-post, as enshrined in the Republican Constitution then, Lungu was sworn-in as Zambia’s sixth President at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on Sunday, January 25, 2015. He was 59.

Under an amended Republican Constitution requiring a winning presidential candidate to garner 50 per cent + one vote, another election, this time a general one, was held on Thursday, August 11, 2016.

President Lungu was re-elected with 1, 860, 877 votes (50.35 per cent), against Hichilema’s 1, 760, 347 votes (47.63 per cent) – that is a difference of 100, 530 votes.

Hichilema disputed the 2016 result and sought legal intervention but the Constitutional Court of Zambia dismissed his presidential petition against President Lungu, on a technicality, on September 5, 2016.

President Lungu was, for a second time, sworn-in on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at National Heroes Stadium.

In November this year, President Lungu would turn 65 years old.

In this year’s elections, President Lungu’s running mate was Professor Nkandu Luo, a 70 year old micro-biologist.

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