The SADC bloc has congratulated Zambia’s president elect Mr Hakainde Hichilema who beat incumbent Mr Edgar Lungu in the polls that were held last week.
Botswana President and Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security chairperson DR Mokgweetsi Masisi called for peace as the country goes through a transition period.
Outgoing President Edgar Lungu immediately conceded defeat while promising to ensure that there is smooth power transfer.
“Sadc remained seized with the developments in the Republic of Zambia, and engaged key stakeholders throughout the process, and notes that despite immense pressure from these highly competitive General Elections, political stakeholders were generally satisfied that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) was able to discharge its functions professionally,” said President Masisi.
“I, therefore, on behalf of SADC, wish to congratulate the President-Elect Mr Hakainde Hichilema, Leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), for winning the 12th August 2021 Presidential Election, as pronounced by the ECZ.”
He said any aggrieved parties should channel any electoral disputes through the appropriate legal platforms.
President Masisi commended the Zambians for exercising their democratic right of electing their leaders.
“On behalf of the Sadc region, I wish to congratulate the people of Zambia for consolidating democracy in their country and the region through peaceful elections. Notwithstanding, there were reported isolated and sporadic acts of violence that are regrettable,” said President Masisi.
“Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the people of Zambia turned out in large numbers. This is the 7th time Zambia is successfully electing a President through competitive multiparty elections since the historic 1991 polls, providing vital lessons for the region and the African continent at large.”
Meanwhile, newly elected Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has availed himself to Zambians saying they should feel free to engage with him as well as keeping him on his toes so that he can fulfil his promises. With all but one of 156 constituencies counted, Hichilema had won 2 810 777 votes against Lungu’s 1 814 201, and the electoral commission declared him the next President.
Lungu (64) congratulated Hichilema in a televised address, marking Zambia’s third peaceful handover of power to an opposition party.
By Eric Knight