New President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema has promised to turn around the economic situation of the country which is plagued by a colossal debt, adding that no Zambian will sleep hungry.
Hichilema assumed office on Tuesday after taking an oath of office before thousands of supporters at the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
“I swear to faithfully and diligently fulfill my duties,” he said during his swearing-in while holding a bible.
“We have shown the world the resilience of our democracy,” said the man known on the street as “HH” or “Bally,” an affectionate term for an elder.
“The cost of living will soon be a reality,” he said on Tuesday, while inflation has made basic necessities unaffordable for a population where more than half live below the poverty line.
Zambians must be able to eat “three decent meals a day”. “Truly free”
The millionaire businessman will also have to tackle the problem of a debt estimated at ten billion euros, half of which is owed to private creditors, notably Chinese.
His predecessor, Edgar Lungu, was criticized for having borrowed unreasonably, as he embarked on a frenzy of bridge, road, and airport construction.
Mr. Lungu had also become increasingly repressive of any criticism, shutting down independent media outlets and arresting opposition figures.
“HH” will ensure “that all Zambians are truly free,” with independent media and strong institutions. “We will restore the rule of law, general order, and bring our country back to normal.”
Hakainde Hichilema defeated incumbent Edgar Lungu in Zambia’s presidential election, with 2,810,777 votes overLungu’s 1,814,201.
It was Mr. Hichilema’s sixth attempt at winning the presidency.