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Hakainde Hichilema: Zambia’s new president conjures up African opposition leaders

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Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema waves at his supporters after being released from prison after treason charge against him were dropped on August 16, 2017 in Lusaka

Zambian opposition chief Hakainde Hichilema waves at his supporters after being launched from jail after treason cost towards him had been dropped on August 16, 2017 in Lusaka

Zambia’s veteran opposition chief Hakainde Hichilema is about to be sworn in as president afterward Tuesday, elevating the hopes of his counterparts in different African states that they can also overcome state repression and sooner or later rise to energy.

Throughout a protracted political profession that noticed him fail in 5 earlier bids to turn into president, Mr Hichilema was brutalised, tear-gassed and even detained for a site visitors offence in 2017 that was deemed treasonous after his convoy failed to provide strategy to the motorcade of outgoing President Edgar Lungu.

However in a unprecedented reversal of his fortunes, the person as soon as declared an enemy of the state might be sworn in as Zambia’s seventh president after defeating Mr Lungu of their newest election duel on 12 August.

“It is massively inspirational,” mentioned Tanzanian opposition chief Tundu Lissu who survived an assassination try in 2017 after being shot 16 occasions by folks he believes had been state brokers.

“Zambians have confirmed us it may be performed, it doesn’t matter what they put us by, regardless of the percentages,” he added.

Mr Lissu misplaced final 12 months’s election to the late President John Magufuli, which he alleges was rigged.

He later fled the nation as safety officers deliberate to arrest him.

Tanzania Opposition lawmaker Tundu Lissu waves from his wheelchair after giving a press conference surrounded by members of his family and supporters on January 5, 2018 at a hospital in the Kenyan capital, Nairob

Tundu Lissu was handled in Kenya following the try on his life in 2017

A few of his colleagues within the Chadema celebration, together with chairman Freeman Mbowe, had been briefly detained.

In Could, Mr Mbowe was charged with terrorism-related offences. His supporters say he’s going through “political persecution” for campaigning for a brand new structure.

In response to Tanzanian opposition politician Zitto Kabwe, solely a brand new structure that ensures the independence of the electoral fee will make sure the opposition has a good likelihood within the subsequent ballot.

“In Zambia, the establishments of democracy appear to be [more] conscious of folks’s will than in lots of elements of Africa.

“The truth that the military, the police, the intelligence companies, the electoral fee would enable the desire of the folks to be superior is a really sturdy message despatched to the African continent,” he added.

‘No shortcut to successful’

The ripple results of this message have unfold far and extensive, particularly in Zambia’s southern neighbour, Zimbabwe, the place it has sparked frenzied exchanges between the primary opposition politician, Nelson Chamisa, and officers of the ruling Zanu-PF celebration, which has been in energy since independence in 1980.

“Zimbabwe you might be subsequent,” the opposition chief tweeted, in a publish congratulating Mr Hichilema.

President Emmerson Mnagangwa retorted: “What occurred in Zambia won’t occur right here.”

His spokesperson even hinted that the military wouldn’t enable a switch of energy to the opposition.

An anti-riot police man in Zimbabwe tackles a woman with his boot as they dispersed a crowd gathered to hear an address by leader of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) Alliance, Nelson Chamisa at Morgan Tsvangirai House, the party headquarters, in Harare, on November 20, 2019

Zimbabwe’s safety forces are infamous for cracking down on the opposition

However a spokesperson for Mr Chamisa’s MDC-Alliance, Fadzayi Mahere, instructed the BBC that Mr Hichilema’s victory confirmed “that the struggle for democracy will be gained, that folks can get collectively to take away a dictatorship”.

Ms Mahere added that there was “no shortcut to successful”.

She mentioned Zimbabwe’s opposition must emulate Mr Hichilema’s United Get together for Nationwide Growth (UPND) celebration by:

  • registering new voters

  • participating the youth

  • defending the vote from rigging

  • and, most significantly, specializing in the important thing points that folks need addressed – fixing the battered economic system, creating jobs for the numerous unemployed youths, and ending the tradition of impunity in authorities.

It’s a message Mmusi Maimane, the previous South African opposition chief and a pal of Mr Hichilema, has additionally been pushing.

He egged on the MDC-Alliance, saying: “Zimbabwe, the instance has been set.”

“The folks of Zambia have rejected poverty and corruption. The folks of Zambia have rejected conceitedness and laziness. They’ve chosen a future price working for,” Mr Maimane added in his message.

‘Presidents are servants’

In Kenya, supporters of veteran political chief Raila Odinga have additionally been heartened by Mr Hichilema’s win, because the 76-year-old politician prepares to run for the presidency for the fifth time in 2022.

Mr Odinga mentioned the Zambian election outcome “reminds fellow Africans elsewhere that nothing is not possible”.

Mr Odinga is because of attend the inauguration, together with opposition politicians from different African states, in a transparent signal that Mr Hichilema doesn’t intend to desert them now that he’s in workplace.

Supporters of Zambian President elect for the opposition party United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema gestures as they ride on a pick up truck in the streets of Lusaka on August 16, 2021.

Younger Zambans threw their weight behind Hakainde Hichilema within the election

Conscious of the curiosity the election has generated on the continent, UPND spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa instructed the BBC there was “no secret technique” behind their victory.

“It is a victory for Zambians. They voted in massive numbers as a result of they need us to take care of corruption, repair unemployment, finish political violence and dictatorship,” Mr Mweetwa mentioned.

Observers additionally credit score Mr Hichilema, 59, for broadening his attraction amongst the youth, a key constituency that nicknamed him Bally – slang for father – due to his deal with points they might relate to.

“We aren’t masters of the folks, we’re their servants,” Mr Hichilema tweeted after he was declared the ballot winner.

The publish sparked loads of response from throughout the continent.

Nonetheless, some cautioned that they’ve beforehand seen different new leaders portrayed as liberators just for them to show into tormentors as soon as in energy.

Zambians and others throughout Africa, might be watching carefully.

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