Zambia Elections Give Zim Opposition Hope
The recently concluded Zambian elections have injected renewed hope by opposition parties in Zimbabwe who say the democratic transfer of power should be witnessed in the country.
Opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema secured 2,810,777 votes while outgoing president, Edgar Lungu was in second place with 1,814,201 votes, out of 7 million registered voters.
It is the third time that power has shifted peacefully from a ruling party to the opposition since the Southern African country’s independence from Britain in 1964.
The change in government in Zambia sent the opposition parties in Zimbabwe into delirium with some proclaiming that what happened in the copper-rich country spells change in the country.
Free Zimbabwe President and businessman, Joseph Makamba Busha said the wheels of change are sweeping across SADC.
“On behalf of FreeZim congress members and all Zimbabwean citizens, I wish Zambian president-elect Hichilema and his people much progress and success for the work ahead of improving the lives of all Zambians.
“The wheels of change are certainly sweeping across SADC. We had DRC in 2019, Botswana 2019, Malawi 2020 and now Zambia in 2021 all recording changes moving away from the past.
“Zimbabwe is next to breathe fresh air in 2023. God bless Zambia, God bless Zimbabwe, God bless Africa,” Busha said.
Main opposition leader, Nelson who controversially lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the 2018 elections, heaped praise on Lungu for conceding defeat to his rival.
“I honour the magnanimous leadership of President-elect HE in conceding defeat. I salute the Zambian army, police, Intel and the electoral commission for their exemplary professionalism and independence. Africa leads! Zimbabwe, you are next!” Chamisa declared.
Hichilema welcomed Lungu’s concession but described the outgoing government as a “brutal regime.”
Hichilema had been arrested multiple times and spent some time in jail on treason charges under Lungu’s government, but he said he would not seek vengeance or retribution.
This has been the case in Zimbabwe where opposition members critical of Mnangagwa’s rule have been arrested on political grounds.
MDC-Alliance lawmaker, Job Sikhala, who has been arrested several times for criticizing the Mnangagwa administration said the country should emulate the events in Zambia.
“This is the democracy we all cherish. Winners must be allowed to assume office without the impediments by losers.
“Africa must learn a lot from Zambia. There has been the transition from one president to the other without bloodshed. Zimbabwe has a lot to learn,” Sikhala said.
Zimbabwe will go to the polls in 2023 but already there is scepticism that the ruling Zanu-PF will stifle any chances of an opposition win.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba fuelled anger among the opposition supporters when he declared that Chamisa would not topple the ruling party.