Zambia’s newly-elected president, Hakainde Hichilema, has been sworn into office after pulling off a stunning rare victory over incumbent President, Edgar Lungu in a landslide by almost one million votes in his sixth attempt at becoming ruler of Zambia.
It was a remarkable turnaround for Hichilema who spent several months in prison in 2017, after the government of Lungu imprisoned him for what were widely seen as politically motivated treason charges.
The charges were later dropped following intense international pressure.
Hichilema was inaugurated Tuesday morning, August 24 at a ceremony attended by 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.
Lungu, recognizing his defeat, addressed the nation following the elections, saying: “Based on the revelations issued at final results, I will comply with the constitutional provisions for a peaceful transition of power.
Hichilema called Tuesday, August 24 “a new dawn in Zambia,” in a tweet ahead of the ceremony.
“As I sit here in our vehicle being driven to Heroes Stadium, I see the love, the joy and the jubilation as people line the streets on our way. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I love you all so much,” he added.
It is the just the third time that power has shifted peacefully from a ruling party to the opposition since the country’s independence from Britain in 1964.