Slow & Steady

Zambia: Hichilema’s first 100 days, a clash of expectations and reality

By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe

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Posted on December 9, 2021 18:14

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema
Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 1, 2021. Andy Buchanan/Pool via REUTERS

After six unsuccessful attempts to become Zambia’s president, wealthy businessman, Hakainde Hichilema, won the 12 August general elections to become the seventh president. He came to power on the promise of restoring the rule of law and order, creating an inclusive government and resuscitating the ailing Zambian economy shackled by huge public debt. After his first 100 days, how has he done?

Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) swept to victory after 23 years in opposition thanks to growing resentment of the former ruling Patriotic Front (PF) by ordinary Zambians who wanted “change.”

The people wanted change

His populist elections campaign promises resonated very well with most Zambians, especially the youth desperate for jobs. This ultimately catalysed Lungu’s fall.

“If we have to give a benefit of doubt, I would say 9 out 10,” says Vice-President Mutale Nalumango in her reflection of the first 100 days of the UPND in office.

In stark contrast to Nalumango’s assessment, the reality on the ground indicates that Hichilema and the UPND are dealing with a different reality. They are left to deal with finding a solution to rebuild the economy of the country; a feat that Zambians are starting to lose patience on.

With the former ruling Patriotic Front in

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