In his inauguration speech, President Hakainde Hichilema promised Zambians that change had arrived.
The newly inaugurated leader, who won a landslide victory against the incumbent Edgar Lungu in elections earlier this month, said the future would not be without challenges but he added the economy would be revived.
It was not just a question of fixing the economy – but growing it too, and he called for the private sector to play a role.
It was important to seek and make investments locally and regionally before looking to Europe and beyond, he said.
He promised Zambians three decent meals a day: “No Zambian should go to bed hungry.”
His administration would look at reforms to the mining, energy, land and tourism sectors, he said.
The 59-year-old also thanked his predecessor for his service and for the smooth transition to his administration.
This was the country’s third peaceful and democratic transfer of leadership over the last three decades, something that was of great credit to Zambia, Mr Hichilema said.
“Democracy is the way to go – for Zambia, the people of Africa and the world.”
He underlined that the new government would have “zero tolerance” towards corruption, it would be a hallmark of the administration – and it would not be a question of retribution.
The cabinet would be representative of the whole country – and all regions would have an equal share of development, he said.
The media too could feel the new dawn as they would be able to operate freely, the new president added.
Setting out his administration’s commitment to educating the young, he said: “Education is the best investment in any child, I’m an example of that.”
Calling for unity, he reiterated the slogan of Zambia’s founding father Kenneth Kaunda, who died in June aged 97: “One Zambia, one nation.”
Afterwards, President Hichilema released hundreds of balloons into the sky over Heroes Stadium – a change from last inauguration when doves were used and proved problematic when they refused to fly off.
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