‘ED persuaded Lungu to accept defeat’

By Nkosana Dlamini

President Emmerson Mnangagwa phoned outgoing Zambian President Edgar Lungu encouraging him to graciously accept poll defeat to his main challenger Hakainde Hichilema to preserve peace.

This was revealed Monday by Presidential spokesperson George Charamba.

Charamba said Hichilema later invited Mnangagwa to his inauguration in Zambia also as a form of gratitude on the role played by the Zimbabwean incumbent “in stabilising the potential volatile post-election in Zambia last week”.

“The president-elect reached out to President Mnangagwa and he was able to communicate his fears over the smooth transition to the President, as the outgoing member of the organ troika.

“President Mnangagwa then reached out to the outgoing President Lungu to respect the wishes of the Zambian people.

“That way both the victor and loser opened channels of communication, thereby securing the peace that is prevailing in Zambia post-election,” Charamba said.

Hichilema registered his resounding poll victory just as SADC leaders were meeting in Malawi for their summit.

It is there that they all agreed to attend Hichilema’s inauguration, according to Charamba.

“When the President was in Malawi last week, all SADC heads in attendance agreed that they must attend the inauguration ceremony as part of their support for the political and election process in Zambia, which after all is the cradle of liberation movements in Southern Africa,” he said.

President Mnangagwa also said he is proud that the Zambian opponents agreed to exchange power peacefully.

“I am proud that this is the 7th time Zambia has changed Presidents and it has been done smoothly. I believe that SADC and the rest of Africa should take pride in knowing that we have countries in the continent where transition of power is done without incident,” Mnangagwa was quoted as having said by State media.