Opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, has arrived in Zambia for president-elect Hakainde Hichilema’s inauguration, a week after he defeated then president Edgar Lungu in a landslide victory.
In a tweet, Chamisa, who was invited together with several other opposition party leaders in Africa and African heads of state and government, said, “Lusaka here we come! Thank you Zambia … A New Dawn!!”
This is the first time that Chamisa has been invited to attend the inauguration of an African president.
In a tweet, MDC Alliance’s vice president, Tendai Biti, said the invitation was an indication that soon there will be social and political change in Zimbabwe.
“Change will occur in Zim. Sooner rather than later. Change is the only constant variable. That change will be part of a new consensus. A new United Vision that will establish a sustainable democratic great Zimbabwe in which all are free to pursue justice, prosperity & happiness.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is attending the same event.
Hichilema, who beat Lungu by almost one million votes, is expected to tackle Zambia’s ballooning internal and external debts.
In a tweet, he said, “Friends, we have assembled an incredibly competent economic team that is analysing Zambia's debt position and putting in place appropriate mechanisms for dismantling it and transparently engaging with our creditors.”
He will be sworn in as Zambia’s seventh president on Tuesday.
In a farewell message posted on his official Facebook page, Lungu said, “This is a momentous occasion for our country, and we all must be proud for letting the torch of our democracy to shine for the world to see. We must all be happy that even after a highly contested election on August 12, it is the Zambian people who won; it is peace and unity that triumphed.
“I'm personally proud that our transfer of power has been smooth; adding to our enduring legacy as a democratic country, which started with our founding president, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, in 1991. Zambia, tomorrow you welcome your new President and open a new chapter for the country, and my prayer is that this new chapter will be filled with hope and fulfill the aspirations of all citizens, building on the foundation we laid.”
He said he is leaving office with a sense of pride due to many achievements that his government scored in the past 10 years under the leadership of the late President Michael Sata, and when he took over the reins.
“Most of these achievements are cast in concrete and cannot be erased now or in the near future. Posterity will look at the infrastructure we have built across the country with gratitude. That is a legacy we leave with you. Today I look back at our 10 years in office with satisfaction, our failures notwithstanding. Yes, there are things we could have done better, but I’m happy that in many aspects, we leave behind a better country.
“And my heart is filled with a deep sense of gratitude to the Zambian people who entrusted us with the huge and honourable responsibility to administer the affairs of this country. I took this as a God-given mandate and He be the best and fairest judge.”