Ex-Zambian leader Edgar Lungu on Sunday hinted at quitting active politics, saying he will not run for office in the next general elections slated for 2026.
“I think I have run my race, I am tired and need to take a rest now. I am not available to run for office again,” Lungu told reporters after attending a Sunday church service in the capital Lusaka.
Lungu said his party, the Patriotic Front (PF) which was defeated by incumbent Hakainde Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) in general elections early this month, should look to rebrand and elect new leaders.
“This is what I have been saying to all those advising me to stay on,” he added.
Lungu, who was accompanied by his wife Esther, said he was coping well with life after office and will support the rule of his successor.
Esther herself was also a topic of public scrutiny after her appearance at the church service came only days after she missed Hichilema’s inauguration ceremony due to a leg injury, according to a PF statement issued on Facebook.
Hichilema beat Lungu by a million votes and his predecessor successfully handed over power at his inauguration in Lusaka last Tuesday.
According to the Zambian Constitution, Lungu will lose all benefits that accrue to the office of a former head of state if he decides to stay on in politics as PF leader in the opposition.
Tutwa Ngulube, an ex-deputy parliament chief-whip in Lungu’s administration, and Thabo Kawana, a UPND alliance spokesman, are among figures that have so far urged the ex-president to take leave from the political scene.
Lungu is the only other surviving ex-head of state from Rupiah Banda, who retired from politics after losing the 2011 general elections to Lungu’s predecessor, Michael Sata.