Zambians Rally Behind Hichilema—and Zambia’s Democracy

Zambians Rally Behind Hichilema—and Zambia’s Democracy
Voters wait to vote at a polling station during Zambia’s presidential election in Lusaka, Zambia, Aug. 12, 2021 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

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In a dramatic rebuke to the tenure of incumbent President Edgar Lungu, Hakainde Hichilema—the leader of Zambia’s main opposition party, the United Party for National Development, or UPND—scored a resounding victory in last week’s presidential election.

According to results released by the country’s electoral commission, Hichilema, a businessman who lost five previous bids for the presidency, captured nearly 60 percent of the vote in a landslide win, with a turnout rate reported to be one of the highest since 1991.* The victory serves as a capstone in the remarkable biography of one of Zambia’s wealthiest men, four years after he was teargassed and arrested by authorities and detained in a maximum-security prison on charges of treason. 

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