Zambia's Hichilema takes oath of office for presidency

Tuesday August 24 2021
Inauguration of Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.

Supporters at the inauguration of Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema. PHOTO | COURTESY | PSCU


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. 

Many had spent the night at the venue to secure a seat. They cheered ecstatically as Hichilema stepped out of a white SUV in a face mask, dark suit and red tie, waving white-gloved hands as his security team struggled against the crowd.

"I, Hakainde Hichilema, do swear that I will faithfully and diligently perform my duties... in this high office," he declared, Bible in hand, as the packed stadium clapped and roared.

Hakainde Hichilema.

Zambia's new President Hakainde Hichilema. PHOTO | FILE

On his sixth bid for the presidency, Hichilema defeated the incumbent Edgar Lungu, 64, by almost one million votes -- a landslide spurred by economic hardship and restricted freedoms under the previous regime.


The victory is the 17th opposition win in sub-Saharan Africa since 2015.