Zambia’s new leader Hakainde Hichilema comes to power on Tuesday after a general election victory hailed as a rare victory over tyranny and a milestone in African democracy.
59-year old Hichilema will be get into power at the expose of the netizens that will involve opposition leaders from local countries also current and former African leaders.
In his sixth presidential bid, Hichilema defeated outgoing President Edgar Lungu, 64, by nearly a million votes – landslides caused by economic hardship and restrictions on independence under the previous regime.
This came despite a campaign blocked by allegations of vote rigging in favor of Lungu’s party.
On August 12, turnout was around 71% and most Zambians lined up at midnight to vote.
“It was an unusual view of people’s will,” Ringisai Chikohomero, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, told AFP.
Lungu and his opponent were neck and neck in the two elections in 2016 and the 2015 by-elections.
But the leader’s popularity has been undermined by the misuse of infrastructure that has left South Africa’s richest copper nation of more than 18 million people in debt.
The currency of the kwacha has fallen and inflation has risen by more than 24%, making basic commodities less affordable in a country where more than half of the population lived in poverty before the epidemic.
Hichilema, known as “HH” or “Bally” – an unofficial word for father – has promised to clean up the mess and bring back feared investors.
“The perpetrators could have analyzed more”
Zambian economist Grieve Chelwa said that this is a teaching that every leader should learn.
But he warned that the situation in Zambia could also have a “negative impact” on encouraging African “oppressors” to “become more difficult”.
There is agreement between analysts and observers that Lungu rigged the vote, citing intimidation tactics by more and more registered voters in the opposition strongholds.
“It was an absurd choice that was used in a number of ways,” said political scientist Nic Cheeseman.
He added that the results could have been snatched from the leading party if the rate of winning had not been too high.
Hichilema contested the 2016 election without success, which he lost by a narrow margin of 100,000.
Youth and activism
Zambia becomes the second country in southern Africa in recent years to hand over its presidency to the opposition candidate after Malawi in 2020.
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has already warned his opponents against such ambitions.
But analysts believe change is accelerating in a continent with a history of oppressive leadership and democratic weakness.
These changes are primarily driven by a new generation of big voters who are more connected to the outside world and have less tolerance of the established freedoms, they say.
About a third of Zambia’s election participants were between 24 and 34 years old.
They cared about the use of social media, collaborating with Hichilema and his party online and designing hashtags like #BallyWillFixIt, despite the suppression of opposition by the state media.
“Africans are increasingly aware, active and critical,” Chikohomero said.