New Zambian leader pledges economic, political reforms

APA-Lusaka (Zambia)

Newly inaugurated President Hakainde Hichilema has promised to revive Zambia’s economy and rid the country of corruption.

Delivering his inaugural speech following his swearing-in as Zambia’s new president in Lusaka on Tuesday, Hichilema said his administration would strive for “rationality” and “effectiveness” as it seeks to revive the economy over the next five years.  

“Our focus over the next five years will be on restoring macroeconomic stability of our country,” Hichilema told thousands of cheering supporters and foreign dignitaries at Lusaka’s Heroes Stadium.

He added: “We will pay special attention to lowering fiscal deficit, reducing the public debt and restoring social and market confidence in our country.”

Hichilema, 59, inherits a foreign debt portfolio of over US$12 billion that has skyrocketed in the last few years of the administration of his predecessor Edgar Lungu who led Zambia from 2015.

The incoming Zambian leader promised to introduce democratic reforms, investor-friendly economic policies and "zero tolerance" to corruption.

“We will promote unity and diversify and ensure respect for liberties, human rights and freedoms for all our people.” 

He pledged to restore the rule of law and strengthen democratic institutions in the country.

“There is space for all of us but there is no space for thuggery, going forward,” he said.

Hichilema came to power following a landslide victory over Lungu in elections held on August 12.


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