Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa has, on behalf of the government and people of South Africa, sent “warm congratulations” to President-elect Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia after the longtime opposition walloped the incumbent Edgar Lungu in the copper-endowed country’s hotly contested presidential election.
“President Ramaphosa says the success of the recent presidential election provides the basis for continued stability and development in the Republic of Zambia and, through this, in the Southern African region,” said Ramaphosa’s acting spokesperson Tyrone Seale.
“President Ramaphosa expresses his appreciation to the government and electoral authority of the Republic of Zambia for holding a successful election amid the danger of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Ramaphosa also saluted the outgoing president, Lungu, “for his leadership during his term in office and his role as a partner for peace and development within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union.
Hichilema beat Lungu by almost a million votes, garnering 2 810 757 against the president’s 1 814 201. The Zambian leader has conceded defeat, committing to handing over power peacefully.
In a brief televised national address on Monday, Lungu congratulated Hichilema and thanked Zambians for the opportunity he was given to lead.
"I want to thank you, the Zambian people, for giving me the opportunity to be your president. I will forever cherish and appreciate the authority you vested in me,” said Lungu.
“All I ever wanted to do was to serve my country to the best of my abilities. Together with you, we did score in many areas.”
The recent polls in Zambia were United Party for National Development leader Hichilema’s sixth attempt at the presidency, having previously run and lost in five elections.
African News Agency (ANA)