Zambia: Hichilema hails Commonwealth Sec-Gen over role in peaceful polls | Dailytrust

Zambia: Hichilema hails Commonwealth Sec-Gen over role in peaceful polls

Zambia’s President, Hakainde Hichilema has singled out the Commonwealth of nations and its Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland for praise over the role the body played in the conduct of successful polls in the country.

Hichilema, recalled in an interview how the Commonwealth Secretary-General negotiated his release from prison in 2017 and the important role in the efforts to stabilise the country.

“In 2017, the Commonwealth Secretary-General came round to negotiate my exit from prison for the trumped-up treason charge and this helped in negotiating between the powers that be then and ourselves.

“She (Patricia Scotland) didn’t give up, the Commonwealth didn’t give up, they came back before the election and I think found really conditions had not improved from the time she left around 2017/2018.

Hichilema added that the Commonwealth also played a huge role in addressing issues relating to the rule of law, violence and non-respect for human rights.

“Lack of political space, the absence of the rule of law in the country, as examples, non-respect for human rights, liberties and freedoms and there were issues around the issuance of National registration cards, which would lead on to register as a voter and also leading to issues around the environment when the vote was to be taken. I’m talking about issues of violence, Community political violence that needed to be dealt with. I’m talking about voter register, voter database that needed to be deemed to be fair and to continue trying to help build peace, a peace platform that will allow for a free and fair election, a credible election.” He said.

‘No loses but two winners’

At the inauguration of Hichilema, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of nations, Patricia Scotland had commended the roles played by Zambia’s new President, Hakainde Hichilema and his predecessor, Edgar Lungu in the successful conduct of the country’s Presidential election saying there was no loser between them but two winners.

Scotland also offered her congratulations to the people of the country and thanked the duo of Hichilema and Lungu saying the election would go down in history as an election with no losers, but two winners.

“Zambia’s “miraculous” 2021 election would go down in history as an election with no losers, but two winners – President Hichilema who won the vote, and President Lungu who won the hearts of every person who loves democracy and peace by a graceful democratic transfer of leadership and extending his brotherly hand to President Hichilema.” Scotland said in a statement.” she said.

Following the August 12 Election, Hakainde Hichilema was sworn in as Zambia’s seventh President at an inauguration ceremony before an elated crowd of people at the Heroes National Stadium and joined by a dozen African heads of government, dignitaries and heads of international organisations.

President Hichilema thanked Zambians for their trust in him. He said: This victory is not mine, but for all the citizens of our great country, especially the youth who turned out to vote in great numbers with great energy and passion, and made this day possible”

It would be recalled that ahead of campaigns, with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat, an official peace pledge was signed on 14th July by the ruling Patriotic Front and leaders of opposition parties, aimed at preventing the outbreak of post-election violence.

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