Zambia’s former President, Edgar Lungu, has urged citizens to demand early elections, accusing his successor, Hakainde Hichilema, of failing to effectively manage the country’s economy. Lungu also alleges that President Hichilema has mishandled the cholera outbreak, resulting in nearly 600 deaths since October last year.
Speaking at an opposition media briefing on Wednesday, Lungu called on Zambians to exert pressure on the president to acknowledge the necessity of an early election. He stated, “If you Zambians demand that we call upon HH to resign and call for an early election, let’s go that route, but it should come from you.”
In response, government spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa swiftly dismissed Lungu’s allegations and encouraged Zambians to give President Hichilema sufficient time to fulfill his campaign promises. Mweetwa further accused the former leader of negatively impacting the country’s economy during his six years in office.
Lungu had announced his return to politics last October, prompting the government to withdraw his retirement benefits. After suffering a significant defeat in the 2021 presidential election, he initially retired from politics. His comeback sets the stage for a potentially contentious 2026 presidential race.