Zambia’s outgoing President, Edgar Lungu, has conceded defeat in the August 12 presidential election that opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema won.
“Countrymen, women, and the youths, we held a general election on the 12th of August and the electoral commission have released the final election results. I will comply with the Constitution’s provision for peaceful transition of power. I wish to congratulate my brother, HE Hakainde Hichilema, on becoming the 7th President of Zambia,” Mr Lungu said in a live broadcast on state radio and television.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairman Esau Chulu declared Hichilema the winner on Monday at around 2:30 a.m. with 55 out of 56 constituencies giving Hichilema close to 60% of the vote, more than the 50% of the vote as per constitutional requirement to win the presidency.
In his address, Lungu thanked his supporters and briefly recounted his party’s successes to the nation of 73 tribes and 18 million people.
“Lastly, I would like to thank all those who voted for my party -the Patriotic Front and myself. To you I say, your vote was not in vain. Please continue supporting us.. I wish you well and May God continue to bless our republic of Zambia” He added.
Lungu, who had served for more than six years and defeated Hichilema twice before. On Saturday, He said that the poll was not free and fair, alleging violence on his party agents in three of Hichilema’s provincial strongholds in Western, Southern and North-Western provinces.
High unemployment levels, inflation, the rising public debt for Zambia, and other factors can be attributed to Lungu’s election loss.
Hichilema, an economist fondly known as HH, of the United Party for National Development (UPND), received 2,810,757 votes, beating Edgar Lungu who garnered 1,840,201 votes.
Hichilema is set to be the seventh elected president of Zambia since independence in 1964.
Hichilema has a lot on his plate to take care of when in office, including an ailing economy due to mounting debt and addressing concerns of deep-rooted government corruption as well as some legal reforms.