59-year-old Hakainde Hichilema of United Party for National Development (UPND) is now the president-elect of Zambia after the recent conclusion of the presidential election.
He emerged with 2.8 million votes — leading incumbent Edgar Lungu with about a million vote.
WHAT THE HICHILEMA VICTORY MEANS TO ZAMBIANS
The people are hopeful that the future will be bright. When Hakainde Hichilema, popularly called HH, won the election, the people danced and sang with joy — waving flags all through the night after the announcement.
But this isn’t the first time the people of Zambia would dance and sing hoping something changes for good.
When Lungu emerged as president in 2015, the people were hopeful. As time passes, the people became skeptical as the government turned out to suppress their freedom of expression, assembly and association.
Somehow, Hichilema has proven to be a man of the people and have earned their trust after contesting for president six times. And like many Zambians, Phiri remains optimistic.
“Whenever people came here to protest they would be quickly arrested, there was no peace.
Everyone would be chased by the police even if you were working, it’s like we were being controlled by the police and there was no freedom for anyone. I hope it will be different now.”
However, the new president-elect has promised democratic reforms, a “zero tolerance” approach to corruption, and economic reforms including debt management.
By Elijah Christopher