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Zambia’s opposition leader Hichilema wins election after capturing more than 2.8 million votes

Zambia’s opposition leader Hichilema wins election after capturing more than 2.8 million votes 

Zambian presidential candidate for the opposition party United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema gives a press conference at his residence, in Lusaka   –  Copyright © africanewsPATRICK MEINHARDT/AFP or licensorsBy Rédaction Africanews

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With 155 of 156 constituencies reporting, official results showed Hichilema had garnered 2,810,757 votes against President Edgar Lungu’s tally of 1,814,201.

“I therefore declare the said Hakainde Hichilema to be president-elect of the Republic of Zambia,” electoral commission chairman Justice Esau Chulu said in a televised address.

The 59-year-old veteran opposition politician beat his long-time rival Lungu following a bruising race held against the backdrop of deteriorating standards of living.

This is the sixth time Hichilema, who is 59, has run for the top job and the third time he has challenged 64-year-old incumbent Lungu.

In 2016, Hichilema narrowly lost to Lungu by around 100,000 votes.

Lungu, who has been in office for six years, faced the electorate amid growing resentment about rising living costs and crackdowns on dissent in the southern African country.

Hichilema enjoyed the backing of 10 opposition parties at Thursday’s vote under the banner of his and the largest opposition United Party for National Development (UPND).

Lungu began crying foul before a winner was declared, claiming the election was neither free nor fair due to incidents of violence reported in what are traditionally Hichilema’s stronghold.

In a statement issued through the president’s office, he alleged that his party’s polling agents were attacked and chased from voting stations.

But even as results were still being tallied, street celebrations erupted in parts of the capital Lusaka with several hundred in party regalia waving flags and rallying outside Hichilema’s house, AFP journalists saw. Others danced and honked car horns.

‘Victory in sight’

Hichilema, popularly referred to by his initials ‘HH’ or as Bally (slang for dad), on Sunday called for peace.

“With victory in sight, I’d like to ask for calm from our members and supporters,” he tweeted.

“We voted for change for a better Zambia that’s free from violence and discrimination.”

“Let us be the change we voted for and embrace the spirit of Ubuntu (humanity) to love and live together harmoniously.”

He later tweeted an image of a silhouette of his raised hand superimposed on a background bearing the inscription “change is here”.

Hichilema also tweeted a picture of himself and former president Rupiah Banda at the latter’s residence, saying they had just concluded a meeting.

“We discussed a wide range of issues bordering on the welfare of our people. We remain committed to ensuring a united and prosperous Zambia for all,” he wrote on Twitter.

Parties that backed Hichilema on Sunday scoffed at Lungu’s “unsubstantiated” claims of a marred vote, and urged him to concede.

International election observers have commended the transparent and peaceful organisation of the polls, but condemned the restrictions on freedom of assembly and movement during campaigning.

Security forces blocked Hichilema from campaigning in several areas, including the strategic Copperbelt Province, citing breaches of coronavirus measures and a public order act.

Lungu also deployed the military following pre-election clashes and reinforced the army presence in three provinces after two deaths were reported on election day.

Social media access, restricted in the capital Lusaka just as Hichilema cast his vote, was restored on Saturday following a court order.

Turnout at the polls was estimated at just over 70 percent.

reported by AFP

Zambian Opposition’s Hichilema Declared Winner of Election

Zambian Opposition’s Hichilema Declared Winner of Election 

Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has been declared the winner of Zambia’s presidential election, defeating incumbent Edgar Lungu, Al Jazeera reports. With 155 of 156 constituencies reporting, official results on Monday (August 16, 2021) showed Hichilema had secured 2,810,757 votes against Lungu’s 1,814,201.Amid fears that Lungu will not recognise the results, the African Union’s election observer mission, led by former president Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, called for peace and calm. “The Mission urges all political leaders and their supporters to not undertake any action that will undermine the peace and stability of the country,” he said.Zambians voted on August 12, 2021 after a tense campaign dominated by economic woes, a debt crisis and the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Shakir Essa is a digital media creator, news broadcaster, author and political analyser. He is the presenter

Shakir Essa

THE AFRICAN COUNTRY WANTS TO DIVERT RESOURCES TO TAKE CARE OF ITS PEOPLE DURING THE PANDEMIC.

THE AFRICAN COUNTRY WANTS TO DIVERT RESOURCES TO TAKE CARE OF ITS PEOPLE DURING THE PANDEMIC.

President Edgar Lungu’s government has suspended them for six months, starting from October. Even though it is a freeze due to a cash-crunch and not a cancellation, in the world of finance, it is being seen as a debt default
 ©Shakir Essa

President Edgar Lungu’s government has suspended them for six months, starting from October. Even though it is a freeze due to a cash-crunch and not a cancellation, in the world of finance, it is being seen as a debt default. 


One of the poorest countries in the world, Zambia, has decided to temporarily suspend interest payments to private creditors as it struggles to contain the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. 

 Zambian leaders were conflicted on the question of whether to continue paying wealthy foreign investors or take care of their people. This week they decided to focus on facing the coronavirus challenge. https://c0.pubmine.com/sf/0.0.3/html/safeframe.htmlREPORT THIS AD

Over the past decade, Zambia has accumulated a foreign debt of more than $10 billion. It has become the first African country to stop payments on private debt, which now make up a major chunk of the loans that the countries in the region have taken. 

Debt relief advocates have for months pushed indebted governments to default on their debt, insisting that spending money on healthcare and economic recovery is more important. 

The 73 most indebted countries have to pay around $45 billion in interest payments in 2020, and a major chunk of it will go to the private sector, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Wealthy countries, which are part of the G20, have announced a debt moratorium for their poor peers. However, private creditors have ganged up and refused to be part of such an initiative. 

Landlocked Zambia is Africa’s second largest producer of copper, which has seen a drastic drop in its price and strained the country’s finances. 

It is not alone in taking the drastic step to default on its debt. Last month, Argentina reached an agreement with its creditors to restructure $65 billion of its foreign debt. https://c0.pubmine.com/sf/0.0.3/html/safeframe.htmlREPORT THIS AD

Private lenders say that refusing to pay interest will make it difficult for poor and developing countries to secure future loans that they need to build roads, hospitals and schools.  

But experts argue that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. In any case, banks and institutional investors had themselves lined up to loan funds to African countries because they were getting a higher return. 

Many African countries, already struggling with poverty and instability, don’t have additional resources to spend on equipping hospitals to deal with the expected increase in the number of patients who require ventilators and ICUs. 

A recent study by Jubilee Debt Campaign, which advocates for debt relief, found that 63 impoverished countries were consuming 5.2 percent of revenues to pay foreign creditors in 2011. This average rose to 12 percent in 2019.https://c0.pubmine.com/sf/0.0.3/html/safeframe.htmlREPORT THIS AD

In just five years between 2012 and 2017, the average external debt as a percentage of the GDP of low-income developing countries surged to 50 percent from 30.35 percent. 

Countries like Ghana, which heavily depend on the export of gold, oil and cocoa, are particularly at risk of a crisis, as the price of commodities have plunged, and the cost of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic is rising. 

Jubilee and others have called for complete debt write-offs, something which is not unusual. In 2001, developed economies agreed to give debt service relief amounting to $34 billion to 23 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), 19 of which were in Africa. The initiative was meant to tackle poverty. 

This becomes especially important in times of an infectious outbreak, which can be a severe burden on the limited resources of most impoverished countries. 

Out of the total debt of the African countries, around 32 percent is owed to private investors – this comes to approximately $132 billion, according to one study done two years back. 

Most of the debt of the developing and poor countries consist of loans, all borrowed to pay off previous loans – trapping them in a vicious debt cycle. 

Between 2000 and 2014, Zambia saw rapid economic growth which averaged around 6.8 percent. However, since then, the country’s economic growth rate has stalled, mainly because of the drop in commodity prices. 

Its public debt increased to 80 percent of GDP in 2019 from 35 percent at the end of 2014

      

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