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Mnangagwa claims credit for getting Zambia’s Lungu to concede defeat

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By KITSEPILE NYATHI

Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa says he persuaded outgoing Zambian President Edgar Lungu to concede defeat after the August 12 elections.

After the presidential poll winner had been declared, President Lungu appeared reluctant to make way for Hakainde Hichilema following the embarrassing defeat.

The incumbent claimed the elections were not free and fair, citing alleged political violence in three provinces.

According to President Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba, the Zimbabwean leader claimed credit for Zambia’s smooth transfer of power when he addressed his supporters in the eastern border town of Mutare on Thursday.

“Upon his arrival, His Excellency briefed his supporters on the just ended (Southern African Development Communality) SADC meeting,” Mr Charamba said on Twitter.

Phone conversation

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“He, for the first time, disclosed that he phoned the outgoing Zambian President Edgar Lungu to persuade him to make way for the winner, president-elect Hichilema, to secure the peace in the country and region.

“Turning to opposition members who dream of the same happening in Zimbabwe, the Zanu PF leader urged such dreamers to come back to their senses.”

Mr Hichilema is a close associate of Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, a relationship their political parties attest to.

The outcome of the Zambian presidential election has created excitement in Zimbabwe, with opposition activists saying they are inspired to replicate the outcome when the country holds its election in 2023.

At the weekend, President Lungu issued a statement saying violence against supporters of his ruling Patriotic Front (PF) in some provinces rendered the polls “not free and fair”.

Concede defeat

Five opposition leaders, namely Harry Kalaba, Nevers Mumba, Fred Mmembe, Chishala Kateka, Sean Tembo and Trevor Mwamba immediately wrote to the embattled leader urging him to concede defeat.

The leaders said President Lungu cannot cry foul because he tried to use his incumbency to tilt the scales in his favour during the polls.

He only conceded defeat on Monday and pledged to facilitate the smooth transfer of power.

President Lungu, who came to power in 2015 after the death of Michael Sata, was seeking a second full term.

Mr Hichilema, a wealthy businessman, won with a landslide and will take the oath of office on Tuesday.

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