President Hage Geingob praised Zambian democracy, saying the people have given the newly elected leaders a strong mandate to lead the country to greater heights. Geingob attended the swearing-in of new Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema yesterday.
Hichilema was inaugurated in Lusaka at a ceremony also attended by official opposition People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani, who undertook the approximately 1,900 km road trip. Zambia’s second female vice president, Mutale Nalumango, was also sworn in at the ceremony.
Hichilema beat Edgar Lungu in a landslide by nearly a million votes in his sixth attempt to become ruler of Zambia. “The Zambian people, who are the supreme ruler, have exercised their democratic right to give Your Excellency and the United Party for National Development (UPND) a strong mandate to take Zambia to greater heights. We have witnessed a unique event in Zambian politics, it is the second time that a ruling party has been replaced at the polls, ”Geingob said in a statement prepared for the occasion.
“This represents what I call the third wave of African leadership, which focuses on building strong democratic principles and improving governance by strengthening processes, systems and institutions.”
Geingob said that the fact that Zambians can hold free, fair and peaceful elections to choose who they want to rule them is indicative of the entrenchment of strong democratic principles in Zambia and a credit to the entire Development Community of Southern Africa (SADC).
“At this point, I want to congratulate my brother, former President Edgar Lungu, for showing political wisdom in being magnanimous in defeat and ensuring a smooth transfer of power,” he added.
He said it was indeed a patriotic and Pan-Africanist gesture of welcome, of which present and future Zambian generations will be proud – and that many others across African and global continents will emulate.
“I wish you good luck in all your future endeavors. My brother, President Hichilema, as you begin your new mandate, I wish to reaffirm my personal commitment and that of the Namibian government to continue to build on the strong bonds of friendship and solidarity that exist between our countries and our peoples ”, Geingob told the new president.
He noted that the relations of the two countries have stood the test of time.
“Zambia has welcomed and provided full diplomatic, political and material assistance to many Namibians during our liberation struggle,” he said, adding that he looked forward to working closely with Hichilema to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation of the two countries for their mutual benefit, as well as to advance the regional integration agenda.
In his inaugural address, Hichilema pledged to restore respect for human rights and freedoms eroded under his predecessor. “We have shown the world the resilience of our democracy,” he said. “We are going to grow our economy so that we can lift more people out of poverty than ever before,” Hichilema, 59, told Zambians at Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.