Prominent leaders in Africa sent congratulatory messages to the President-elect of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, on his victory in the presidential election of Aug. 12, 2021.
Hichilema had defeated the incumbent President Edgar Lungu by almost a million votes after polling 2,810,777 votes against Lungu’s 1,814,201, with all but one of the 156 constituencies counted.
Fourteen other candidates contested the election.
After initially indicating he may challenge the result, Lungu addressed the nation on Monday conceding defeat and saying;: “Based on the revelations issued at final results, I will comply with the constitutional provisions for a peaceful transition of power.
“I would therefore like to congratulate my brother, the president-elect, His Excellency Mr Hakainde Hichilema, for becoming the seventh Republican President.
“I will forever cherish and appreciate that authority you’ve invested in me. Countrymen, women and the youth, all I ever wanted to do was to serve my country to the best of my abilities.
“Of course, there were challenges along the way. But what I appreciated most, with your support during the tough times.
“Lastly, I’d 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.”
With Zambia set for another peaceful transition following an election, Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, felicitated Zambians and applauded them for coming out in their numbers to exercise their civic rights, and voting for candidates of their choice.
Buhari, in a congratulatory message released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Monday, said Hichilema’s victory showed that the prospect of a united, stable and prosperous Africa lies in the power of the people to freely elect their leaders.
He commended outgoing President Edgar Lungu for accepting the outcome of the election and a peaceful transfer of power.
He noted that this patriotic disposition deserves the praise of all lovers of democracy.
The Nigerian leader underscored the close and historic ties between Nigeria and Zambia while looking forward to working with the newly elected president of Zambia for peace, development, and prosperity in both nations.
Former Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga congratulated Hichilema on his “decisive victory”.
“The Zambian people have made Africa proud for conducting a successful election,” Odinga tweeted. The election “reminds fellow Africans elsewhere that nothing is impossible”.
On his part, former Nigerian president and elder statesman, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, told Hichilema to be magnanimous in victory.
Obasanjo, in a congratulatory message to Hichilema, commended Zambians for keeping democracy alive in the East African country.
In a release by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Monday, Obasanjo said reports reaching him were that the election was satisfactory.
He said, “I want to congratulate the newly elected President, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema for his victory and also I want to congratulate the outgoing President for working hard to maintain the tenets of democracy by conceding when the result is clear that Hichilema won.
“I also congratulate the people of Zambia for keeping democracy alive. I appeal to the new President to be magnanimous in victory and the people of Zambia should maintain the dignity and peace which we are all noted for in Africa.
“Zambia must break the circle of previous Presidents being disgraced by inhuman treatment by the succeeding President.”
Meanwhile, the European Union while congratulating President-elect Hichilema said it looked “forward to working with the new President and his government, as well as with the newly elected members of the National Assembly, to strengthen our long and productive partnership with Zambia.”
The EU also commended voters who clearly demonstrated their commitment to democracy, participating in large numbers despite the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The example set by those candidates who made timely statements of concession is also very welcome,” the EU added.
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