President in Zambia for Lungu’s inauguration
PRESIDENT Mugabe arrived here yesterday to join other Heads of State and Government for the inauguration of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu who recently won elections against his main rival and long term trialist Mr Hakainde Hichilema.
The President was received at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport by Zambia’s permanent secretary for Tourism Mr Stephen Mwanza and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Zambia Getrude Takawira among other officials.
He was seen off at the Harare International Airport by Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, State Security Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe, Harare Metropolitan Province Minister Cde Miriam Chikukwa, service chiefs and senior Government officials. The Zambian elections were held on August 11 and Mr Lungu, who leads the Patriotic Front, polled 50.35 percent against 47.63 percent for Mr Hichilema of the United Party for National Development.
Mr Hichilema and his running mate, Geoffrey Mwamba, launched a court challenge to nullify the result, but the constitutional court last week threw out the bid, paving way for today’s ceremony.
Mr Lungu’s running mate, Vice President Ms Inonge Wina, will also be sworn in.
President Mugabe will join at least four leaders — Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Botswana’s Ian Khama and John Magufuli of Tanzania — among other dignitaries.
Deputy Prime Minister of Swaziland Paul Dlamini, Namibian Vice-President Nickey Iyambo, Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto are also expected to attend.
Zambia is in a festive mood and yesterday was declared a half working day, while today is a public holiday.
Security will be high at the 50 000 seater National Heroes’ Stadium in Lusaka where thousands will throng, and alternative venues where people can follow the proceedings on large mounted TV screens, have also been designated, among others, at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in the Copperbelt, Nkoloma Stadium in Chelstone area and the showgrounds in Lusaka.
Mr Lungu first took office in 2015 after the death of President Michael Sata in October 2014.