PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa told reporters in Lusaka that he is actually related to Zambia’s incoming President Hakainde Hichilema, adding that the recent Zambian elections provide a lesson SADC for losing contestants to accept electoral outcomes.
The Zambian president-elect Hakainde Hichilema, will be sworn-in today, and at least 15 Heads of State are in Lusaka for the inauguration.
Mnangagwa revealed that while he was at his farm in Kwekwe on Sunday, Hichilema called him and they had a long chat on the relations between the two countries, among other matters.
“The president-elect phoned me while I was at my farm in Kwekwe inviting me and we discussed so many issues in Tonga. I realised we are related. In fact his wife, Mutinta Hichilema and I grew up in the same town of Mumbwa, west of Lusaka,” President Mnangagwa said, in a report by The Herald.
Mnangagwa arrived in Lusaka yesterday for the swearing-in ceremony of Hichilema. He said he has been in constant touch with both outgoing President Edgar Lungu and his successor Hichilema, and was happy with the acceptance of the result by Lungu.
“This outcome and the peaceful transition, that will be completed today, is a lesson to SADC and Africa at large for losing contestants to accept electoral outcomes.
“I grew up here and I am very proud that this is the seventh time that Zambia has changed Presidents and they have done it so smoothly.
“I believe that the SADC region and also other African countries should take pride that we have countries on the continent whose transition of power after elections is happening smoothly. We are very proud.”
Mnangagwa did his tertiary education during the liberation struggle in the then Northern Rhodesia during the 1960s and 70s. He said he has always enjoyed close relations with Zambian presidents, and Hichilema would be no different.
“I in particular, am a friend of almost all presidents of Zambia from Kenneth Kaunda to the incoming President Hichilema that we know each other very well. I congratulate my brother for being chosen overwhelmingly by the people of Zambia,” said the President.
President-elect Hichilema will be inaugurated together with vice president-elect Mrs Mutale Nalumango.
The event is strictly by invitation and only invited guests are expected at the National Heroes Stadium, with the rest expected to follow proceedings at home or work places on their television sets.
Other invited guests include South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, Angolan President João Lourenço and the Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi.