Ramaphosa has ‘warmly accepted’ Hichilema’s invitation to inauguration

SOUTH Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has called Zambia’s President-Elect Hakainde Hichilema to wish the incoming leader and the government and people of Zambia well for the presidential term.

“President Ramaphosa congratulated President-Elect Hichilema on his electoral success and noted the importance of this milestone amid the challenges presented by Covid-19,” said acting presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale.

“President Ramaphosa assured President-Elect Hichilema that South Africa would, in its relations with Zambia, build on the deep historical ties forged between our two nations during South Africa’s liberation struggle, as well on the partnership maintained by outgoing President Edgar Lungu.”

Seale said Ramaphosa “warmly accepted” Hichilema’s invitation to his inauguration in Lusaka on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Ramaphosa congratulated Hichilema, after the long-time opposition leader walloped incumbent Edgar Lungu in last week’s hotly contested vote.

“President Ramaphosa says the success of the recent presidential election provides the basis for continued stability and development in the Republic of Zambia and, through this, in the southern African region,” Seale said on Tuesday.

“President Ramaphosa expresses his appreciation to the government and electoral authority of the Republic of Zambia for holding a successful election amid the danger of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Ramaphosa also saluted Lungu, “for his leadership during his term in office and his role as a partner for peace and development within the Southern African Development Community and the African Union”.

Hichilema beat Lungu by almost one million votes, garnering 2,810,757 against the president’s 1,814,201. The Zambian leader has conceded defeat, committing to handing over power peacefully.

Last week’s elections were United Party for National Development leader Hichilema’s sixth attempt at the Zambian presidency, having previously lost in five elections.

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