PRESIDENT Hage Geingob has congratulated the President-elect of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, on his victory in the Presidential Elections last Thursday.
President Hichilema, a businessperson and Leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) since 2006, beat outgoing President, Edgar Lungu, with overwhelming majority. Lungu conceded defeat.
In his congratulatory message Geingob says the people of Zambia had unequivocally expressed their sovereign will through the ballot box having voted for the UPND under Hichilema’s leadership, giving it a strong mandate to steer Zambia towards further development, progress and prosperity.
“On behalf of the people and Government of the Republic of Namibia, I wish to extend to you, the Government and the people of the Republic of Zambia, fraternal and warm congratulations on your historic election as President of the Republic of Zambia. “
“While wishing Your Excellency good health, strength and wisdom in carrying out your mandate, I look forward to working closely with Your Excellency, to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation as well as advancing our regional development agenda, to uplift the living standards of our peoples and countries,” he says.
Hichilema contested five other presidential elections – in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016 and lost although at every election, his vote increased. Through persistence he eventually won the 2021 presidential election with more than 59% of the vote.
In the final tally, Hichilema secured 2 810 777 votes while Lungu was in second place with 1 814 201 votes, out of 7 million registered voters.
“I therefore declare that the said Hichilema to be president of Zambia,” said Electoral Commission Chairman, Esau Chulu, to a packed results centre in the Zambian capital, Lusaka.
The massive win meant Hichilema does not have to contest any second round run-offs after meeting the constitutional 50.1 percent threshold for an outright winner. Before his election, Hichilema was a strong critic of Edgar Lungu, who was Zambian President since 2015.
According to Zambian media outlets, on 11 April 2017, Hichilema was arrested and charged with treason, a charge allegedly seen as a ploy by Lungu to suppress a political opponent. The arrest and charge were extensively criticized, with protests in Zambia and abroad, demanding Hichilema’s release and denouncing the increasing authoritarianism of Lungu’s regime. Hichilema was released from prison on 16 August 2017, and the treason charge dropped.