Zambia’s newly elected leader Hakainde Hichilema has been sworn in after an election victory hailed as a rare triumph over authoritarianism and a milestone in African democracy.
Hichilema, fondly known as “HH” or “Bally” – an informal term for father – has vowed to clean up the mess and woo back spooked investors. His inauguration speech also announced that his government will ensure that citizens can have three decent meals a day.
Hichilema, 59, took the oath of office on Tuesday before thousands of jubilant supporters gathered at the Heroes Stadium in the capital, Lusaka, sporting the red-and-yellow regalia of his United Party for National Development. The victory is the 17th opposition win in sub-Saharan Africa since 2015.
It occurred despite restricted campaigning and suspected rigging in favour of Lungu’s party. Among the guests were opposition politicians from the region as well as former and current African leaders, including the presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
Zambia becomes only the second country in southern Africa in recent years to transfer its presidency to an opposition candidate after Malawi in 2020.