Article by: Dumisane Dube
Zambia’s newly-elected leader Hakainde Hichilema was sworn in on Tuesday after a comprehensive election victory hailed as a rare triumph over authoritarianism and a milestone in African democracy.
Hichilema, 59, took the oath of office before thousands of jubilant supporters gathered at the Heroes Stadium in the capital Lusaka, sporting the red and yellow regalia of his United Party for National Development.
The victory is the 17th opposition win in sub-Saharan Africa since 2015. It occurred despite restricted campaigning and suspected rigging in favour of Lungu’s party.
Voter turnout on August 12 was nearly 71 percent, and many Zambians queued late into the night to cast their ballots.
Almost a third of the participants in Zambia’s election were aged between 24 and 34.
Lungu and his rival were neck-and-neck in both 2016 polls and a 2015 snap election.
Zambia becomes only the second country in southern Africa in recent years to transfer its presidency to an opposition candidate after Malawi in 2020.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa of neighbouring Zimbabwe, who attended the ceremony along with his main rival Nelson Chamisa, has already warned opponents not to harbour similar ambitions.
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