Hakainde Hichilema has promised to unite the country.
Hakainde Sammy Hichilema, a Seventh-day Adventist church member, has become the seventh president of the republic of Zambia after an official inauguration ceremony in the capital city of Lusaka on August 24. He won the August 12 general election after receiving 2,810,757 votes, outpacing the incumbent president, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who received 1,814,201 votes. A total of 4,858,193 votes were cast in the national election.
Hichilema’s message during the campaigns centered on uniting the country, which has 73 tribes, and revamping the nation’s ailing economy.
At the church level, Hichilema and his wife, Mutinta Shepande Hichilema, are baptized members of Chilanga Mission District in the Lusaka Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Both were invested as Master Guides in the youth ministry of the Adventist Church in December 2020 by Southern Zambia Union Conference youth director Webster Silungwe after undergoing lessons for one year.
According to Reuters news organization, Hichilema, 59, was born in southern Zambia in a low-income family. He attended the University of Zambia on a government scholarship and later studied business and finance at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. He is now a well-known businessman whose portfolio includes property management, cattle ranching , and financial consultancy.
Adventist members and leaders around the world congratulated Hichilema on his new position. “This is monumental and historical,” Adventist Church associate youth director Pako Mokgwane wrote. “Continue to live by the ideals of your Master Guide pin.”
Church member Joyce Motsoeneng wrote, “Congratulations! May the Lord be your leader all the way. May He bestow upon your life favor and wisdom, as He did to King Solomon. May you lead with integrity in Jesus Christ’s name. May the nation of Zambia know God the Creator of heaven and earth through you.”
“Let God lead through you,” church member Thucha Emeldah added. “It will not be an easy road, but God is still God, and He will guide you and protect you. We will also keep you in our prayers.”
During his campaigns Hichilema promised to promote religious liberties for all faiths in the nation, adding that he wouldn’t coerce anyone into joining his church, as alleged by his political opponents. Hichilema was elected on his sixth attempt at the country’s top job.
On August 24 thousands of Zambians and foreign dignitaries filled the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka to witness the inauguration of Hichilema. The ceremony began with the reading of a Bible verse and a prayer to “bless the president with wisdom, so he can continue to promote peace . . . and have peace amid all challenges.”
Hichilema’s first address to the nation was filled with a deep sense of gratitude to the many stakeholders who made that moment possible. He first thanked God and asked for His guidance. “I pray that God will continue to guide us through our journey; He is our anchor,” Hichilema said.
He thanked his predecessor and political opponent Edgar Lungu for his service to the country. Hichilema also thanked his running partner and new vice president, Mutale Nalumango, and his wife, Mutinta. “Words cannot express my gratitude for your support and counsel through the years,” he told the latter.
Hichilema vowed to fight for “inclusion, not exclusion; for gathering, not scattering.” He promised to serve his country to the best of his abilities. “We will truly be your servants,” he assured the citizens of Zambia. “That’s our promise to you.”