Zambia maintains role of peaceful power transition



President Hakainde Hichilema inspects the guard of honor during the inauguration ceremony at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia, on Aug. 24, 2021. /Xinhua

Zambia's holding of general elections on Aug. 12, 2021, and the peaceful transition of power by the incumbent president maintained Zambia as one of the few countries on the continent to see peaceful transitions.

The southern African nation has established a reputation as one of Africa's stable democratic nations with regular elections followed by peaceful transfers of power since the country's founding leader, the late Kenneth Kaunda, introduced multiparty democracy in 1991.

Zambia has so far stood out in peaceful transition on the African continent, known for disputed elections and failure by incumbents to hand over power.

In the polls, former President Edgar Lungu lost power to main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema. Lungu polled 1.8 million votes against Hichilema's 2.8 million during the elections which saw 16 presidential candidates participating.

Lungu peacefully conceded defeat and handed over power to his successor in the election that was marred by violence during the campaigns.

Lungu, who becomes the third president to peacefully hand over power after Kaunda who peacefully handed power after losing the 1991 elections and President Rupiah Banda after losing the 2011 polls, has gone into the annals as one of Africa's statesmen.

In his remarks after conceding defeat, Lungu said the desire to see a peaceful nation should override personal ambitions.

"I want to thank you the Zambian people for giving me the opportunity to be your president. I will forever cherish and appreciate the authority you invested in me," he said.

Lungu has since stepped aside from active politics in line with the country's constitution.

Political observers have lauded the peaceful transition of power in Zambia and believe that other African countries need to emulate the gesture.

"There is no doubt that Zambia's democracy has been maturing and this peaceful transition to power just goes to show the direction the democracy is going," Stewart Daka, a political commentator, told Xinhua.

Both the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) paid tribute to Zambia on the peaceful transition.

Felix Tshisekedi, the AU Chairperson and President of DRC, said it was gratifying that Zambia has maintained the legacy of holding peaceful polls and smooth transition of power, saying it is a model that should be emulated.

On the other hand, the President of Malawi and SADC Chairperson Lazarus Chakwerasaid Zambia has written a story that shows the world that Africa can solve its own problems and does not need to be nursed by anyone.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency