Hakainde Hichilema sworn in as new president of Zambia

25 Aug 2021

Hakainde Hichilema was sworn in as Zambia’s president on Tuesday, the country’s seventh president since independence.

Hichilema took oath of office at Heroes Stadium in Lusaka in front of a limited crowd due to coronavirus restrictions.

The new president, who won the election by around a million votes, thanked the people of Zambia for placing "trust in a simple village boy".

Zambia’s second female vice president, Mutale Nalumango was sworn in alongside him. Inonga Wina, the first female VP, served with former president Edgar Lungu.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa attended the ceremony, along with Democratic Republic of Congo president Felix Tshisekedi and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Hichilema’s election win is viewed as a boost for opposition movements. Also present at the inauguration were his regional political allies Mmusi Maimane and Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, president of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance.

Hichilema said of former president Lungu in his inaugural speech: "We choose not to call it 'transfer of power' because power belongs to the people.

"We must put aside our election-related and other differences and pull in on direction as a country," he added.

The majority of his first presidential address was focused on Zambia’s economy: “Going forward, you will see rationality, prudence and effectiveness from our side.” He pledged to restore "macro-economic stability" by reducing national debt and boosting investor confidence, outlining an "ambitious economic and social transformation agenda" that would see Zambia reach middle-income status. 

Hichilema went on to promise economic diversification and boost entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the country.