Zambia’s new president, Hakainde Hichilema has vowed to turn around the economy of the country, plagued by a colossal debt, promising that no Zambian will sleep hungry.
Hichilema was sworn in on Tuesday 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.