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Mapfumo calls for Zimbabwean liberation – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th September 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 19 September 2021 11:59

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51491285502/sizes/o/

 

The Chimurenga musician, Thomas ‘Mukanya’ Mapfumo, who lives in exile in the United States said his wish was for every Zimbabwean to return home and ‘liberate the country from dictatorship’.

 

Mapfumo is to perform in South Africa in November and said he hoped to go to Zimbabwe afterwards. ‘If you want independence, you have to be home. We can only liberate ourselves if we are united because it is not easy to remove this government of today.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/return-home-and-liberate-zimbabwe-thomas-mapfumo-rallies-exiled-zimbabweans/.)

 

There is mounting impatience in the diaspora at the refusal of the Zanu PF government to observe the diaspora’s constitutional right to vote. As many as one in four Zimbabweans are believed to be in exile because of the country’s economic and political situation.

 

Southern Africa director of Human Rights Watch Dewa Mavhinga said: ‘Zanu-PF is afraid that many diasporans who left are not happy with the way it has governed the country and will definitely vote for the opposition’.

 

Mavhinga continued: ‘Diasporas remain massive injectors of foreign currency into the Zimbabwean government fiscus but it still refuses them the right to vote. It cannot have its cake and eat it.’ (See: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-209051.html.)

Zimbabweans in the US and Canada called for a demonstration at the United Nations headquarters in New York today over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and the denial of their right to vote. They said they would go ahead even though President Mnangagwa said he would not attend the UN meeting in person (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/usa-canada-based-zimbos-plot-massive-anti-mnangagwa-demo/).

 

But Mnangagwa will apparently be coming to the UK to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November. He discussed the visit this week with the British Ambassador Melanie Robinson who, the Herald reports, gave him a birthday card. The Vigil supposes that this is what they call diplomacy.

 

The Herald says: ‘the President’s visit is also expected to boost Zimbabwe’s chances of making its case to the global community, including the British Foreign Office for its re-admission into the international community, particularly the Commonwealth, from which it withdrew in 2003 at the height of a diplomatic tiff between Harare and London’. (See: https://www.herald.co.zw/president-meets-british-envoy-over-uk-trip/.)

 

Other Points:

  • The Zimbabwe government has ordered all government workers to get vaccinated against Covid 19. The Public Service Commission said: ‘All civil servants should be vaccinated without delay, and unvaccinated members shall not be allowed to report for duty’. (See: https://apnews.com/article/africa-business-health-zimbabwe-coronavirus-pandemic-3a3cec7e85af9a900ae88aeb82de0468.)
  • After four years in power, Mnangagwa’s anti-corruption campaign has turned out to be nothing but a façade, according to observers reported in an article in Newsday (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/09/eds-anti-graft-crusade-a-facade/).
  • The government’s threat to non-governmental organisations was given a setback by a High Court ruling suspending a government directive under which they would have to stop operating if they failed to comply with state directives (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/high-court-reverses-govts-threats-to-shutdown-ngos/.)
  • Today was a virtual Vigil. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 25th September. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. However, it was agreed that because we are now able to meet physically and the Vigil is about making the effort to join together in protest, it is not appropriate to continue the virtual Vigils in the same way as they were conducted when we weren’t able to meet. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. For today’s photos, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719919414880. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Casper Nyamakura, Dambudzo Marimira, Jacob Mandipira, Joyce Mbairatsunga and Richard Munyama who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 25th September from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:  

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

 
Zimbabweans want coalition government – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 11th September 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 12 September 2021 15:46

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51455735094/sizes/m/

 

The Pan-African research network Afrobarometer says the majority of Zimbabweans are in favour of a coalition government as a way of resolving the country’s political and economic problems.

 

Political analyst Ernest Mudzengi said that, by opting for a coalition government, citizens had indicated they had lost hope for reforms under a Zanu PF government. ‘Calling for a coalition government is a sign of desperation. They are speaking from history where they saw a change during the unity (coalition) between the now late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe’, Mudzengi said.

 

But Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said: ‘Our party does not recognise the so-called opposition party led by Nelson Chamisa’. He said it was only prepared to work with the participants in the government-created Political Actors’ Dialogue (POLAD).

 

Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said Chamisa wanted a unified nation just like his supporters do. ‘But there is a difference between a genuine coalition and a bastardised one’, he said, accusing POLAD of being a bunch of useless people pursuing material benefits (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/09/fresh-push-for-coalition-govt/),

 

In a statement ahead of the MDC’s 22nd anniversary today, Chamisa said the party would survive despite Zanu PF’s determined efforts to destroy it. ‘The oppressor has used surrogates masquerading as opposition to impersonate us, usurp the people’s assets and to expel people’s lawfully-elected political representatives from elected bodies. They have even diverted public funds that we rightfully earned based on our performance in the 2018 elections. This money is dished out to their preferred opposition. The idea is to suffocate us politically and financially and drive us into extinction.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/state-machinery-wont-destroy-us-chamisa-speaking-ahead-of-mdcs-22nd-anniversary/.)

 

The Herald tells us every day that things are getting better and better in Zimbabwe. It is always a cheerful read: the economy is about to boom and we are well on course to be a middle-income country by 2030 thanks to the wisdom of our visionary leader Comrade Mnangagwa.

 

It takes a cynical former finance minister like Tendai Biti to spoil the party. He says the Zanu PF regime is ideologically bankrupt and cannot transform the lives of suffering citizens. He accuses Mnangagwa of advancing a ‘dangerously unpatriotic agenda’ through rewarding the Russians and Chinese with secret mining deals (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/biti-exposes-mnangagwas-secret-deals-with-china-russia/).

 

Lovemore Moyo, a former speaker of parliament and now leader of the opposition United Movement for Devolution, says Zanu PF is unwilling to Implement devolution of power for fear it would deny its officials the opportunity to loot public resources (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/09/govt-fears-devolution-may-plug-looting-holes/).

 

Other Points:

  • The Zimbabwean justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi says government workers who do not want to be vaccinated against Covid 19 should resign. Ziyambi said that, while Zimbabweans would not be forced to get vaccinated, those in the public service had a responsibility to protect the public by getting vaccinated. He added ‘ there will come a time when we will not want any teacher who is not vaccinated’. (See: https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/get-covid-19-vaccine-or-please-quit-zimbabwe-tells-government-workers-2021-09-07/.)
  • Today we met outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 25th September 2021.  On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. However, it was agreed that because we are now able to meet physically and the Vigil is about making the effort to join together in protest, it is not appropriate to continue the virtual Vigils in the same way as they were conducted when we weren’t able to meet. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. Thanks to those who came today: Casper Nyamakura, Dambudzo Marimira, Ephraim Tapa, Jacob Mandipira, Jonathan Kariwo, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Margaret Munenge, Philip Maponga, Richard Munyama, Rose Benton and Rosemary Maponga.. Photos of today’s Vigil can be accessed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719830708662.
  • For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 25th September from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:  

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

 
Fixing the next elections – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 4th September 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 11 September 2021 20:08

 

  

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51423328842/sizes/m/ 

 

As the crocodile’s jaws close on the opposition, Nelson Chamisa’s MDC party has launched an appeal for financial support from the public at home and in the diaspora ahead of the 2023 elections.

 

The move follows the government’s exclusion of the party from the arrangement under which political parties receive public funds n proportion to votes they received in the last elections. The last electoral results announced by the Electoral Commission said Chamisa received 45% of the presidential vote and Mnangagwa 51% - the rest going to fringe candidates. (The results are widely regarded as having been rigged in favour of Zanu PF.)

 

As part of its efforts to divide the opposition, the government has now ignored Chamisa’s party and given the funds to disputed MDC breakaways, led by Douglas Mwonzora. It amounts to $60 million Zimbabwe dollars. Zanu PF is getting $140 million.

 

The Chamisa party’s secretary for presidential affairs Jameson Timba condemned the move, saying that there was a High Court ruling banning the grant of the funds to either MDC faction until the legal dispute between them had been resolved. He said it showed Zanu PF’s desperation to ‘oil its surrogates’ to destabilise Chamisa’s party (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-208189.html).

 

President Mnangagwa has admitted that Zimbabwe is deeply in debt to China and struggling to pay off its loans. Most of its deals with China are in exchange for mineral resources, leading to accusations that Mnangagwa is mortgaging Zimbabwe’s future (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/09/zim-sinking-in-chinese-debt-ed/).

 

Nevertheless, Mnangagwa is not short of money to splash out on the military. Information Minister Monica Mutsvanga said the cabinet had approved a number of projects ‘to ensure a comfortable life for the military’. They include shopping malls, residential flats and ‘robust armouries’.

 

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesman Marvellous Khumalo said the government’s generosity to the military had everything to do with the forthcoming elections and also to protect the regime from any potential threats, including a coup (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/09/ed-pampers-military/).

 

Crisis in Coalition also condemned the proposed amendment of the Private Voluntary Organisation Act, which will make it a punishable offence for non-government organisations to engage in political activities. The Coalition’s director Blessing Vava said: ‘We implore the government to desist from muzzling the operations of civil society organisations and further shrinking the democratic space ahead of the 2023 elections.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/09/stop-persecuting-pro-democracy-forces-govt-told/.)

 

Other Points:

  • Zanu PF has attacked the outgoing US Ambassador Brian Nichols, accusing him of funding opposition parties and civil society organisations to overthrow the government. In an farewell statement Nichols urged the government to ‘heed Zimbabweans’ call for free and fair elections’. (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/08/zanu-pf-attacks-outgoing-us-envoy/.)
  • Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has given an interview about the difficulties or practising journalism in the country. He said Zimbabwe is ‘a terrible space for practising journalism’. Asked what was necessary to free the press in Zimbabwe he said; ‘The government just needs to follow the constitution and allow citizens who are journalists to practice their craft without hindrance, without intimidation, without state institutions being used against them’. (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/journalists-in-zimbabwe-live-in-fear-of-arrest-hopewell-chinono/.)
  • Today was a virtual Vigil. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 11th September. On the alternate Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. However, it was agreed that because we are now able to meet physically and the Vigil is about making the effort to join together in protest, it is not appropriate to continue the virtual Vigils in the same way as they were conducted when we weren’t able to meet. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. For today’s photos, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719776800756. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Amina Matewele, Babula Gwatiringa, Esther Munyira and Joyce Mbairatsunga who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 25th September from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:  

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Zanu PF insults Zambia – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th August 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 29 August 2021 12:23

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51408606691/sizes/m/

 

In the old days rulers would have fools or jesters to keep them amused. But we doubt that President Mnangagwa will be laughing much over the latest ravings of his hired fool George Charamba.

 

While Mnangagwa was in Zambia pretending to welcome the election of the opposition leader President Hakainde Hichilema as the new President, his spokesman was ranting at home that HH was a ‘sell-out’.

 

Why was the new Zambian President a sell-out? Charamba was angry because HH had warmly welcomed the MDC leader Nelson Chamisa to the inauguration – as he did the opposition leaders of a number of other countries.

 

He said he had invited them because ‘they chose the hard path of supporting of our party’s struggles when others refused to associate with us in the opposition’.

 

Also welcomed was the leader of the One South Africa Movement Mmusi Maimane who later tweeted ‘there is a wind blowing across SADC, across Africa’. (See: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/2021-08-24-zimbabwean-political-rivals-put-on-a-show-at-hichilema-inauguration/.)

 

The spokesman for the new Zambian President’s party, United Party for National Development, Joseph Kalimbwe, described Charamba’s comments as ‘catastrophic’ and said they would not be taken lightly.

 

The prominent lawyer and MDC supporter Alex Magaisa said: ‘It is undiplomatic for a presidential spokesperson to attack a fellow head of State on baseless accusations’, adding ‘The fact is that there is fear and panic within the ruling party Zanu PF over the perceived close association between Chamisa and Hichilema.’ (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/charamba-labels-hichilema-sellout/.)

 

No doubt Zanu PF is worried by the Zambian President’s inaugural address at the packed Heroes’ Stadium in Lusaka.

He told the crowd: ‘Democracy is the way to go — for Zambia, the people of Africa and the world.’ He pledged to root out corruption, invest in education and rebuild an economy buckling under a $12 billion debt mountain (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1164-hakainde-hichilema-vows-to-free-zambia-from-corruption).

 

The Zimbabwe government will be further annoyed that the Zambian state broadcaster has offered to give Chamisa a platform if he continues to be side-lined by television back home.

 

Other Points:

  • Chamisa’s MDC Alliance Party has expressed fears that President Mnangagwa might misuse the US$961 million Zimbabwe has received from the International Monetary Fund. The party’s spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, said that Zanu PF was likely to use the money for electioneering if not held to account (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/08/chamisa-raises-alarm-over-imf-funds/).
  • Joshua Nkomo’s son, Sibangilizwe Nkomo, has dismissed suggestions that the Gukurahundi issue has been resolved after President Mnangagwa’s talks with tribal chiefs. The government said it had agreed to discussions about compensation for victims of the Gukurahundi massacre in the 1980s. But Nkomo said the chiefs had left out key issues such as accountability and justice. ‘Without these, the genocide will still be unresolved, missing in the key issues is an acknowledgment and apology’. (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/late-vp-nkomos-son-says-chiefs-cannot-resolve-gukurahundi/.)
  • Today we met outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. For the moment we are meeting outside the Embassy every other week and our next gathering will be on 11th September 2021. On the other Saturdays we will continue with the virtual Vigil. However, it was agreed that because we are now able to meet physically and the Vigil is about making the effort to join together in protest, it is not appropriate to continue the virtual Vigils in the same way as they were conducted when we weren’t able to meet. To be recorded as participating in a virtual Vigil your photo, taken with a poster with a message reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe, must be taken at one of the actual Vigils. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. The photos will then be labelled with your name, uploaded on our website, Flickr site and Facebook pages. Thanks to those who came today: Amina Matewele, Babula Gwatiringa, Ephraim Tapa, Esther Munyira. Farayi Chikowore, Jonathan Kariwo, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Lorrein Gumise and Rose Benton. Photos of today’s Vigil can be accessed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719740966053.
  • For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Events and Notices:

  • The next Vigil. Saturday 11th September from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:  

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

 
Hakainde Hichilema vows to free Zambia from corruption PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 28 August 2021 20:15

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/president-hakainde-hichilema-vows-to-free-zambia-from-corruption-z8hhj769z

Hakainde Hichilema vows to free Zambia from corruption

Jane Flanagan, Cape Town – 25/08/2021

 

Zambia’s new president was sworn in yesterday following his landslide election victory, in front of a VIP guest list that put Africa’s autocrats on notice.

 

Hakainde Hichilema, 59, took the oath of office in the capital Lusaka before jubilant supporters, heads of state and their political rivals in an acknowledgment of the new president’s lengthy stint as a political outsider.

 

On his sixth bid for the presidency, Hichilema defeated the incumbent Edgar Lungu, 64, by almost one million votes – despite restrictions on campaigning, a crackdown on his supporters and reported attempts at rigging in favour of Lungu’s party.

 

As the packed Heroes Stadium clapped and roared approval, Hichilema told the crowd: “Democracy is the way to go — for Zambia, the people of Africa and the world.” He pledged to root out corruption, invest in education and rebuild an economy buckling under a $12 billion debt mountain.

 

“No Zambian should go to be hungry,” the leader told his supporters, who call him “HH” or “Bally” — an informal term for father.

 

The majority for his United Party for National Development marked Zambia’s third transfer of power through the ballot box since the founding president Kenneth Kaunda stood down after reluctantly agreeing to multi-party elections.

 

Hichilema has been arrested many times since he switched from a successful business career to politics, but he thanked his predecessor for his service and peaceful surrender of power, against all predictions that Lungu would attempt to cling on.

 

“I came to witness the total burying of Lungu and corruption,” said Mateyo Simukonda, 36, who had travelled overnight from the country’s mining heartlands to watch the ceremony. “We have now put him [Lungu] to rest and let him rest in peace.”

 

Growing repression and economic mismanagement during Lungu’s six years in office had prompted fears that Zambia would become a “new Zimbabwe”. Debt as a share of GDP rose on his watch from 34 per cent to 110 per cent, diverting budgets from basic services and sending food prices sharply upwards.

 

Although ruling party efforts to hinder Hichilema’s campaign left him “effectively competing with one hand tied behind his back”, according to Sishuwa Sishuwa, from the University of Zambia, strategic deals with smaller opposition parties and the huge turnout of 71 per cent delivered a victory that was too big to be stolen.

 

The opposition victory comes at a time when democracy is generally receding worldwide and African dictators are making the most of pandemic restrictions. It also follows last year’s overturning of a stolen election in Malawi, and the trend has unsettled some.

 

President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, whose main rival, Nelson Chamisa, joined him in the Lusaka stadium, has already warned opponents not to harbour similar ambitions. Commenting on a picture of Zimbabwe’s opposition leader with the new Zambian president, Mnangagwa’s information secretary compared Chamisa to a bridesmaid who never becomes the bride.

 

President Masisi of Botswana was more gracious and gave a seat on his plane to the ceremony to Dumelang Saleshando, the leader of his opposition.

 
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