By Our Correspondent
Zambia’s Opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema who was declared winner on Monday in an intensely contested presidential election, has extended a hand of friendship to everyone, including his opposition for the development of the country.
Hichilema secured 2,810,757 votes, to defeat incumbent Edgar Lungu who polled 1,814,201.
The electoral commission of Zambia proclaimed Hichilema president-elect on Monday, bringing the curtain down on Lungu’s nearly six-year stay in power.
It was Mr Hichilema’s sixth attempt at winning the presidency and his supporters have been celebrating on the streets of the capital, Lusaka.
Mr Lungu’s Patriotic Front has accepted defeat and congratulated Mr Hichilema.
Also, International Election Observers have commended the polls’ transparent and peaceful organisation, which saw a turnout of around 70.9 percent a huge jump from 57.7 posted in the 2016 polls.
Hichilema while briefing journalist in Lusaka, stated that it was time to show the people of Zambia a better form of governance and leadership.
Mr Hichilem was born into humble beginnings in the southern district of Monze.
He got a scholarship to the University of Zambia, and later graduated with an MBA degree from the University of Birmingham in the UK. He went on to become one of Zambia’s richest men, with business interests in finance, ranching, property, healthcare and tourism.
Mr Hichilema has described himself as an ordinary “cattle boy” and has contested and lost every election held in Zambia since 2006. However, each time he has increased his share of the vote.
In 2016, Mr Hichilema said the election was stolen from him after he lost to Mr Lungu by just 100,000 votes. He has also faced problems with authorities since entering politics.
After the 2016 election, he was charged with treason for allegedly failing to give way to the presidential motorcade. He spent four months in a maximum-security jail before the charges were dropped.
He now faces the daunting challenge of turning around the country’s economic fortunes.