Zambia’s opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema won the country’s presidential election with a landslide victory over incumbent President Edgar Lungu, stated the Electoral Commission of Zambia on August 16, 2021.
Zambia’s Electoral Commission reported that Hichilema secured 2.8 million votes against Lungu who got 1.8 million votes from 156 constituencies, except one barred. There were 7 million registered voters in the country.
This marks the third shift of power from a ruling party to the opposition since Zambia’s independence from Britain in 1964.
Hichilema’s supporters celebrated the win by wearing the red and yellow of his United Party for National Development (UNPND).
Zambia’s ruling party Patriotic Front’s Lungu has been facing public discontent due to unstainable fiscal policies, falling copper prices, major unemployment among youth, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who is Hakainde Hichilema?
•Hakainde Hichilema, 59, is a former CEO at an accounting firm who ran for the presidency for the sixth time this year. In 2021, he became the President of Zambia after a successful campaign that took a dig at Lungu’s way of handling the economy.
•Hichilema has run against Lungu three times before for the post of President of Zambia.
•Hichilema is a member of the opposition party United Party for National Development in Zambia. He was appointed as the party’s new president after the death of Anderson Mazoka in 2006.
•Hichilema has been presented with the Africa Freedom Award by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in October 2017.
Zambia: Key Challenges
•Hakainde Hichilema faces dire challenges in reviving the country’s democratic and economic landscape.
•Zambia has become Africa’s first pandemic-era sovereign default in November 2020 after the country failed to keep up with a $42.5 million sovereign debt payment.
•Zambia’s economic debt is a major challenge. Under Lungu’s leadership, Zambia’s debt jumped from 36 per cent to 110 per cent of GDP. Among other issues are corruption, executive dominance, and increased violent extortionary by cadres under the Patriotic Front.
Zambia Presidential Election 2021
•The Presidential Election of Zambia was held on August 12, 2021, wherein Zambia’s opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was declared the winner.
•The 2021 Zambian Presidential Election saw a close competition between Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UNPND) and Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front.
•Edgar Lungu of the ruling party Patriotic Party has been Zambia’s President since 2015. Lungu ran for a third term that the opposition stated as unconstitutional as he has been elected twice already in the 2015 and 2016 elections. However, the Constitutional Court dismissed any opposition stating that Lungu served only for a year in his first term.