The Zambian presidential, parliamentary and council elections held over the past weekend have ushered in a new Government.
The opposition United Party for National Development(UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema got a landslide victory. The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) congratulates Hichilema for this sterling victory. This is a fitting tribute to his resilience – having contested for and lost elections five times.
In a reconciliatory note, Hichilema has stressed that he and his team are not going into office to arrest those who arrested them. Like many who oppose governments in Africa, Hichilema has often found himself harassed by the incumbent. He has been jailed for proposing an alternative agenda for Zambia. Like he rightly put it, “political tolerance is when you accept that when other people’s views and opinions differ from yours, they are not your enemies. We must embrace diversity and respect those who oppose us”.
Hichilema’s victory is a victory for democracy in Southern Africa, a region where power hardly changes hands of contesting parties. In conceding defeat, Edgar Lungu promised to comply with the constitutional provisions for a peaceful transfer of power. The UDC applauds him, especially after he (Lungu) who enjoyed the trappings of incumbency claimed that the elections where ‘not free and fair’.
Elections in some Southern African countries have been a sham. Zimbabwea is notorious for not holding elections which are neither free nor fair. The 2019 elections in Botswana were marred by harassment of the main opposition leader and widespread rigging. To most ruling parties in SADC, elections are only free and fair when they win. The moment electorates turn against them, they resort to outright intimidation and rigging. That is why as the UDC we applauded Malawi last year and we now praise the Zambians.
Hichilema, a self-made man from a very humble background has ascended to the top office in his country. This is a lesson to all. As the UDC we further applaud the Zambian people for their decisiveness in dealing with incompetent regimes. The thank them for condemning such to the dustbin of history. For an ordinary Motswana, the lesson is simple, if a Government does not deliver, vote it out. Also jealously guard against distortion of your will and rigging to ensure that democracy is preserved.
The ordinary Zambians made it their responsibility to ensure that there is no rigging in the elections.
UDC CommunicationsMoeti Mohwasa
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