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Hakainde Hichilema, the Besigye of Zambia, Elected Seventh President


Zambian President-elect Hakainde Hichilema and Ugandan opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye have one thing in common: their resilience.

They have both run in presidential elections, losing at least four of them.

Hichilema has been the United Party for National Development (UPND) sole candidate since the party was founded in 1998.

On the other hand, Besigye run under the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) ticket thrice, leaving Patrick Oboi Amuriat to take on 76-year-old leader Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni in the 2021 presidential election.

But while Besigye is yet to ‘win’ any election, Hichilema or HH as he is popularly known, is now the seventh president of Zambia.

Hichilema, 59, trounced incumbent President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, 64, of the Patriotic Front in the August 12 election.

At 2:53am on August 16, Electoral Commission of Zambia chairperson Esau Chulu announced Hichilema, an economist, the winner of the poll.

Hichilema becomes the first southerner to be elected president since Zambia got independence from Britain in 1964.

The opposition leader polled 2,810,757 (59.38 per cent).

Lungu, president since taking over from fallen president Michael Sata 2014, managed 1,814,201 (38.33 per cent).

The tally included 155 of the 156 constituencies in the nation of 18 million people, seven of whom are registered voters.

Chuli noted that results from the remaining constituency would not transfer victory from Hichilema’s hands to Lungu’s.

A day earlier, Lungu had claimed the election had not been free and fair, especially in three provinces.

“The general election in three provinces, namely, Southern Province, North Western Province, and Western Province, were characterised by violence, rendering the whole exercise a nullity,” the president said in a statement issued by his special assistant Isaac Chipampe.

There is hope that Lungu will soon concede defeat.

When he met the AU observer mission delegation, led by Bai Koroma, at State House Lusaka, Lungu committed to a transition of power.

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