Zambia’s newly-elected president, Hakainde Hichilema, has been sworn into office after pulling off a stunning rare victory for an African opposition leader.
Hichilema was inaugurated Tuesday morning at a ceremony attended by leaders such as Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Malawi leader Lazarus Chakwera.
Zambia’s second female Vice President Mutale Nalumango was also sworn in during the ceremony.
His election has raised the hopes of his counterparts in other African states that they too can overcome state repression and one day rise to power.
During a long political career that saw him fail in five previous bids to become president, Hichilema was brutalised, tear-gassed and even detained for a traffic offence in 2017 that was deemed treasonous after his convoy failed to give way to the motorcade of outgoing President Edgar Lungu.
But in an extraordinary reversal of his fortunes, the man once declared an enemy of the state will be sworn in as Zambia’s seventh president after defeating Lungu in their latest election duel on 12 August.
In his speech delivered after he was inaugurated, Hichilema said his government will strive for the benefits of all citizens.
He said his government will fix the economy and grow it in order to lift people out of poverty.
He added that his government will endeavor to deliver on the promises made during the campaigns, adding that his government will endeavor to restore the rule of law and the dignity of the people.
“You have entrusted us to run the affairs of this country and we will be your servants,” he said.
The new president further thanked his predecessor for his service to the country and for the smooth and peaceful transfer of power.
He further invited the private sector to work with his government to grow the economy and political parties to work with the ruling party in unity and put political differences aside.
According to him, macroeconomic stability will be crucial as well as reducing public debt which has affected investment in other sectors of the economy.