Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema will not move from State House to his private residence.
The move was made despite his predecessor, Edgar Lungu’s departure from the office earlier this week.
The Secretary-General of Hichilema’s ruling Party for National Development (UPND), Batuke Imenda, is quoted as saying that while the president will work at State House, he’ll carry on living at his private residence, which is called Community House.
“Just like he said before he was sworn in, our president will continue living at his house in New Kasama. He is more comfortable at Community House. When you compare the two places, his house is better,” Imenda said.
The announcement that Hichilema will not occupy State House comes after Lungu, who was defeated by over a million votes in the 12 August elections, tweeted a farewell message saying that he carries “great memories” of the time he spent at State House.
He wrote, “For the past 7 years, StateHouse was a residence for me and my family but I never took it for granted that I would not take my last stroll in these grounds one day; and yesterday, I did. But I did it with a sense of honour that I did my part, just like the 5 presidents before me.”
However, the president’s decision has generated a backlash with Lusaka Lawyer and former State House Press Secretary, Dickson Jere, raising alarm on the newly elected President’s safety.
Jere stated that State House residences at Nkwazi and State Lodge serve as the country’s only secure residences that protect the Head of State from known and unknown threats. Specifically, he advises those around Hichilema not to lead him astray but rather to help convince him to begin to trust state infrastructure and government institutions.
He said, “The President should move to State House. That is a security installation for the Head of State and it has things that his private house does not have. Zambian President has two places – Nkwazi and State Lodge – heavily equipped for the Head of State. My humble view is that he should move.”
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