Zambians elect new president as former president Koroma of Sierra Leone shows strong leadership of an African elder statesman

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 August 2021:

Zambia’s main opposition party leader – Mr Hakainde Hichilema has today been declared the winner of the country’s elections, after much uncertainty and fear of political violence breaking out across the country.

The Business tycoon won the hotly contested presidential election, defeating incumbent president Edgar Lungu by a landslide.

Results announced this morning by the chairman of the electoral commission – Justice Esau Chulu, showed Hichilema had won 2,810,757 of the votes against Lungu’s 1,814,201: “I therefore declare the said Hakainde Hichilema to be president-elect of the Republic of Zambia.”

Hakainde Hichilema’s victory brings his six times attempt to win the presidency to an end, after narrowly losing to president Lungu in 2016 by about 100,000 votes.

It is thought that Mr Lungu lost the election after six years of alleged human rights abuses and corruption, and presiding over a failing economy with massive youth unemployment, which Hakainde Hichilema now has the task of addressing.

Although president Lungu eventually accepted Hakainde Hichilema victory, his earlier decision to object to the results – claiming the election was neither free nor fair due – citing incidents of violence, was a huge challenge for the African Union election observers led by Sierra Leone’s former president Ernest Bai Koroma whose handling of the elections has been described as exemplary.

Former President Ernest Bai Koroma earlier today called on Zambians to celebrate peacefully ahead of the announcement of the results.

Following a fruitful meeting with incumbent president Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the Head of the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM ) encouraged winners to be magnanimous in victory.

Koroma said, “I have had a fruitful discussion with the incumbent President, and I am pleased that Zambians are indeed one people and one nation.”

“Having been in both situations of losing and winning, I know that there’s no shame in losing. At the same time, being a winner presents an even bigger responsibility to keep the country together and ensure the safety and security of all citizens including former Presidential candidates,” President Koroma stated. (Photo below: Former President Koroma (Center) President Elect Hakainda Hichilema (Right) and Outgoing President Edgar Lungu). 

Reporting for president Koroma’s office, Sheriff Mahmud Ismail sent this report:

The African Union head of delegation to Zambia, former Sierra Leonean President Koroma went on over drive Monday in pursuit of his ‘preventive diplomacy’ mandate whose focus was on mediation.

The task at hand was to facilitate a smooth transition owing to the fact that the two protagonists, President Elect, Hichilema and outgoing President Lungu, have had a long running feud. Hichilema said he has been badly treated by Lungu who incarcerated him about 15 times on all manner of charges including treason.

Now the tables have turned, Hichilema has won a resounding electoral victory which left Lungu gasping in despair and desperation for some cover. Though he has honourably conceded defeat and congratulated the President Elect, calling him “my brother” in his concession speech, fears still existed on the part of Lungu about retribution. At the same time, Hichilema was concerned that Lungu might delay the transition by petitioning the outcome. (Video below – President Lungu conceding defeat).

To assuage these concerns, President Koroma earlier this afternoon held discussions with outgoing President Lungu, and earlier this evening, his assignment led him to Zambia’s former President Rupiah Banda. The two statesmen met at Banda’s residence in the southern part of Lusaka. interestingly Banda’s is sequestered in area called Makeni, same name as former president Koroma’s hometown in Sierra Leone albeit the latter’s is in the northern part of his country.

Receiving the AU envoy at his residence in Makeni, Lusaka, Zambia, former Zambian President Banda said: Mr. President, you’re warmly welcome, this is your home too”.

Banda and Koroma were joined by the head of the European Union Mission to the Zambian elections, Tanzania’s former President Jakaya Kikwete. The triumvirates have been seized of the situation from the outset and are determined to see it through to a successful, peaceful end.

The three statesmen therefore jointly held a closed – door tet – a – tet with a very humbled Lungu. The trio had taken Lungu’s fears to the man in whose hands Lungu’s destiny had been surrendered by the people of Zambia through the August 12 electoral throbbing.

And so it was! As at 6:00hrs Zambian time, the trio brought the duo together to finalise the safe exit for the outgoing and a smooth transition to usher in the new administration. Both parties emerged from the closed – door meeting with broad smiles and, critically, an extraordinarily successful execution of the African Union mandate of keeping in place Zambia’s enviable record of democracy, peace and stability.

The lesson learnt from the Zambian situation is that society provides its citizens with the ladder to climb as high as they possibly could; but when they stumble; it provides the net to cushion the fall. No doubt, by the force with which Zambians yanked Lungu during the August 12 elections, he would have crash landed from the presidency but for the net provided by the African Union leadership of President Koroma.

This therefore means that when one is up that’s the time to treat those below nicely and with respect because one day you would have to come down. And it’s how well or not you conducted yourself while on top that determines the manner with which you make your way down.

 

6 Comments

  1. Thank you, Mr EBK. Sierra Leone will forever remember you for your stewardship both home and abroad. For Sierra Leone and Africa are proud of you!
    #SIERRALEONEMANDELA

  2. The unity of the whole Africa is more important than anything. I personally congratulated the President elect, H.E. Hichilema for his victory, and thanks the out going president, H.E. Lungu for his courageous to accepts defeat after the Zambians have voted and made their choice. Also many thanks to our former President, H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma to presents there and worked with all honest to improve the image of Sierra Leone, I wish he has the same plan for his own country Mama Sa/Lone come 2023, because you can count him now as one of the world’s leaders.
    We have to open our eyes, I hope that lessons been learnt and I don’t think if we will ever prepare for another civil war. As some of us beating the drum of war, hmmmm, there is something different when you pick up that rifle. Again, thank you the Zambians.

  3. Fascinating and fantastic political monitoring there by Africa’s best former President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. This former President has always got things done in Sierra Leone. Now, he has helped monitored a very volatile political and electoral process in Zambia to get things done there. He should return home and help elect the APC flagbearer who will defeat President Bio in 2023 to get SAHLONE sorted and get things done.

    Is President Bio now very worried about how the Zambians voted to get their country sorted under the close electoral monitoring watch of our former Commander of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma? A Powerful political mindset of our former president. Like Zambia 2021, like Sierra Leone 2023. Well done Dr Ernest Bai Koroma and your team. You are a great leader whose leadership will be respected and felt not only in Sierra Leone, Zambia or Africa, but throughout the world. “We day for you with norf respect”. Yeah.

  4. Undoubtedly former President Koroma has made a name for himself outside of his own homeland under the umbrella of The African Union (AU). On the whole, to bring out the best of a Sierra Leonean, give him/her an international job. Personally I have never met anyone in my international travels who has not expressed their admiration for the exemplary professionalism of Sierra Leoneans, be it at the United Nations (UN) , World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), AU, etc. As these people express their admiration I feel proud to the point of being arrogant – the world is in my pocket to do with as I please.

    If Earnest Koroma was given a budget for his trip to Zambia, he would account for every fraction of it, making the task of any auditor the most easy in the world. All necessary documents would be right on top of his desk with no ambiguity to necessitate any questions. In Zambia we have seen the Earnest Koroma who generates pride in all of us. The moment he lands back at Lungi Airport the other Earnest Koroma comes into being.

    Now we have the tactical Earnest who would do anything to avoid the clutches of ACC, the Earnest who would not explain his untold wealth in public to put to rest all accusations of corrupt acquisition. His actions have formed the background for deadly confrontations between his supporters and security forces.

    In Zambia ,Earnest was able to bring two sworn political enemies together to avoid violence. It was a successful mission for him and Africa. Now then, how come the same Earnest can’t reconcile the factions which have emerged within his party (APC) of which he is chairman for life? For the AU to continuously ask him to observe elections all over the continent, it must be that his domestic record is ignored, including being the head of a corrupt government, some of whose members are now losing their properties, having been unable to reconcile their earnings with their wealth in front of the Commissions of Inquiry (COI).

  5. Congratulations to president elect , Mr Hakainda Hichilema on winning this Zambian presidential elections. And congratulations to the Head of the African union Elections monitoring obverser team our very former president Enerst Bai Koroma for his and his team for their outstanding efforts for making the impossible the possible. Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief, that the elections were conducted in a peaceful manner, all be it – small incidents occurred in other parts of the country, but was never a threat to derail the outcome of this year’s presidential elections.

    One million more votes to Mr Hichilema versus the incumbent President Mr Lungu was a big enough margin to force him to raise the white flag and abandoned any attempt to challenge the presidential elections outcome. There are so many ironies of inronies in this presidential elections, one has to pinch themself in wonder out loud about the parallels of the Zambian elections and the issues they are fought on, showing all the hallmark of what is presently happening in Sierra Leone.

    The people of Zambia mostly the young , voted with their heads rather than their hearts. President Lungu is accused of heading a corrupt government, gross human rights abuses, suppression of press freedom, abuse of the powers of the presidency, and leveling false charges against his political opponents. Even Mr Hichilema spent several times in prison. And to make matters more intriguing, the outgoing president Edga Lungu’s Patriotic Front party which the public identified with is Green. And Mr Hichilema is Red. Now we can all agree the similarities in the way Zambian poltics is conducted is a mirror image of our country. May the Lord deliver us from Bio’s government in 2023. Voting for your interest should be the only way forward in our country. Because quite often people vote on tribal and regional lines. If there is one lesson our youths of today can learn, its best to vote for someone that can make a difference in your life. Thats what we have learnt from the youths of Zambia.

  6. This is a very good report and I have really enjoyed reading it. President Koroma has led and conducted well the election monitoring mission with which he has been tasked, and the peaceable acceptance of the election results by both the winner and the loser is the glorious outcome of the entire exercise. Three cheers for the people of Zambia, and Kudos to President Koroma and his team for work well done.

    May future elections both near and far elsewhere in the continent, including of course those in our beloved Sierra Leone, be conducted and monitored in a similar spirit and achieve a similar outcome. Peace, harmony, unity and stability are the the vital ingredients needed to energise and accelerate our countries’ and continent’s rather slow and at times non-existent pace of economic development.

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