Zambia’s new President Hakainde Hichilema vowed to ensure that citizens can have three decent meals a day. Hakainde Hichilema made his inauguration speech – addressing a packed stadium in the capital, Lusaka.
He said his government would concentrate on reviving the economy and generating jobs for the unemployed youth – adding that “no Zambian should go to bed hungry”.
Hichilema defeated incumbent Edgar Lungu to earn a landslide victory 12 days ago.
The 59-year-old’s victory has boosted the hopes of his opposition counterparts in other African states that they also can overcome state repression and rise to power one day.
It was the sixth consecutive time the former businessman had run for president.
Hichilema, in his speech, thanked his predecessor for ensuring a smooth transition to his administration but added that the development was “not a change of power but a change of leadership,” saying that the actual power resides in Zambians.
“Democracy is the only way to go – for Zambia, for Africa and the world,” he said.
This was the third consecutive time that there had been a peaceful and democratic shift of power from one party’s candidate to another.
He said that the country was facing several challenges, but his government would focus on reviving the economy, which he said was “overwhelmed by debt servicing, consumption, and emoluments”, leaving little room for investment for growth.
“We are set to pay special attention to reducing the fiscal deficit, lowering public debt and rebuilding social and market confidence,” he said.
“A new dawn is here where you all will be skilled and find the opportunity to work or do business in a market that we will revive. I want the jobless youth to stay positive,” he said.
“Over the last decade, the debt position has become unsustainable, lowering the country’s capacity to invest,” a masked Hichilema told his well-wishers.