President Emmerson Mnangagwa has finally congratulated Zambia’s President-Elect Hakainde Hichilema following his victory over incumbent Edgar Lungu in the 12 August presidential election.
A few months ago Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba labelled Hichilema a sellout, a reckless claim that was probably made with a false conviction that he will not win Zambia’s presidency.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia on Monday declared Hichilema the winner of the hotly-contested poll after he garnered 2,810,757 votes against Lungu’s 1,814,201 after 155 of 156 constituencies had reported.
While local opposition political parties and the African Union and SADC were quick to congratulate Hichilema, Mnangagwa’s silence had been deafening.
Mnangagwa took to social media late on Tuesday afternoon to congratulate the winner, pledging to work with Zambia’s incoming president. He posted on Twitter:
Congratulations [Hakainde Hichilema] on your election victory. I have no doubt that you will serve Zambia with distinction for the benefit of all.
I look forward to working with you over the coming years for the benefit of both peoples.
Mnangagwa is believed to have been close to Lungu, and in 2018, the latter’s administration handed over MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti to Harare authorities after he had sought refuge in Zambia following the disputed polls in Zimbabwe.
In 2019 Mnangagwa was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by his Alma Mater University of Zambia (UNZA) alongside Lungu.