December 7, 2022

Washington says President Hakainde Hichilema and US aid chief Samantha Power discussed ‘the dramatic circumstances that led to his landslide victory’ in Zambia’s election

President Hakainde Hichilema
President Hakainde Hichilema

Washington said on Thursday evening that President Hakainde Hichilema and US aid chief Samantha Power met and discussed a wide range of issues, including “the dramatic circumstances that led to his landslide victory in Zambia’s August 12 presidential election.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, who now leads the U.S. Agency for International Development, gives an opening statement at her U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, DC, U.S., March 23, 2021. Greg Nash/Pool via REUTERS

The meeting between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator and the new president of Zambia was called to discuss U.S. support for Zambia and “Hichilema’s far-reaching agenda of democratic and economic reforms,” USAID said in a statement.

“Administrator Power was pleased to welcome President Hichilema on his first visit to the United States as President of Zambia after his victory in the August 2021 election,” USAID spokesperson Rebecca Chalif. ‎”She conveyed to him the support of the Biden-Harris Administration and USAID in strengthening the U.S.-Zambia partnership, and in his efforts to expand economic opportunities, reduce inequality, end the COVID-19 pandemic, deliver responsive and transparent governance, and advance democracy and human rights.”

Chalif said Administrator Power and President Hichilema discussed the President’s early efforts to tackle corruption, sustain and create jobs, and address trafficking in persons, as well as ways to build on USAID’s long standing work in Zambia to meet the new challenges facing the country.  

Administrator Power also announced that USAID will be programming approximately $18.5 million in additional U.S. Government funding to support President Hichilema’s priorities, including Zambia’s fights against COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, strengthening Zambia’s energy sector, and bolstering democracy.

“As a longtime opposition leader, President Hichilema had been arrested 15 times and faced significant persecution for his political activity. As Election Day approached observers expressed significant concerns about the prospects for a free and fair election,’ Chalif wrote. ‘Yet as the entire world witnessed, the Zambian people came out in force, determined to exercise their rights and to send a message about the direction they wanted for their country. The result was a historic turnout powered by millions of first-time voters, young people, and women. Zambian civil society also played a critical role in ensuring that Zambians were able to have their voices heard and in successfully monitoring the electoral process. President Hichilema ultimately won by nearly 20 percentage points—a Zambian victory by Zambians and for Zambians.”

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