The seventh and current president of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, was inaugurated on August 24, 2021. Hichilema was born on June 4, 1962, in the Monze District of Zambia. Little is known about his childhood. In 1986, he graduated from the University of Zambia with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration. He then earned a Master’s of Business Administration in Finance and Business Strategy at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
Between 1994 and 1998, Hichilema served as the Chief Operating Officer of Coopers and Lybrand in Zambia. From 1998 to 2006, he served as the CEO of Grant Thornton, Zambia. In 2006, he was elected President of the United Party for National Development. He was the party candidate for president in the elections of 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, and 2016. He lost every election. In the 2015 election, he lost by only 27,757 votes (1%).
In early 2017, Hichilema was arrested when his convoy of vehicles failed to make way for President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade. He was charged with treason and spent four months in jail before the charges were dismissed. In the 2021 election, Hichilema won in a landslide over sitting President Edgar Lungu. This was a rare incidence where an incumbent African president was defeated by a first-time candidate was defeated by the leader of the loyal opposition in the national legislature. Hichilema was inaugurated as the seventh president of Zambia on August 24, 2021.
In his inaugural address, Hichilema said that “no Zambian should go to bed hungry.” He promised to revive the country’s stagnant economy, provide jobs for unemployed youth, and pledged that his administration would have zero tolerance for corruption. He also promised an inclusive government as “diversity is strength.”
Hakainde Hichilema is generally referred to as “HH” throughout Zambia. He and his wife, Mutinta, have three children: Chikonka, Miyanda, and Habwela.