Zambia declares public holiday for Hakainde Hichilema inauguration

Hakainde Hichilema

Rustenburg – Zambia has declared Tuesday, the day of inauguration of Hakainde Hichilema as new president, a public holiday, local media reported.

Outgoing President Edgar Lungu made the declaration for the day, which will see Mutale Nalumpangpo also be sworn in as vice president, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation said.

The broadcaster said attendance at the inauguration would be restricted to only invited guests, in adherence to Covid-19 restrictions. Other people can still follow the proceedings through live broadcasts on television, radio and social media streaming platforms.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi was expected to arrive in Zambia on Monday to attend the inauguration, the ministry of international affairs and cooperation said in a statement.

It said Masisi would be accompanied by former Botswana president Festus Mogae, International Affairs and Cooperation Minister Lemogang Kwape, leader of the opposition Dumelang Saleshando and senior government officials.

Media in Malawi said President Lazarus Chakwera would also attend the inauguration. Online news outlet Malawi24 reported that the ministry of foreign affairs was expected to release details of the trip later on Monday.

Chakwera assumed chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community last week.

Hichilema, who leads the United Party for National Development, will be sworn-in at the Heroes Stadium in the capital Lusaka.

He won the August 12 presidential election resoundingly, garnering nearly a million more votes than Lungu of the Patriotic Front.

Going to the general election, Hichilema said he was expecting at least 4.7 million people to vote for him while Lungu expected to win by a margin of at least 500 000 votes.

Opposition parties in southern Africa have lauded Hichilema’s victory as inspiring.

African News Agency (ANA)