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Hakainde Hichilema

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia

Hakainde Hichilema
Hichilema in 2020
7th President of Zambia
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24 August 2021
Vice PresidentMutale Nalumango
Preceded byEdgar Lungu
Personal details
Born (1962-06-04) 4 June 1962 (age 61)
Hachipona, Northern Rhodesia,

Rhodesia and Nyasaland

(now Monze District, Zambia)
Political partyUnited Party for National Development
Spouse(s)Mutinta Hichilema
EducationUniversity of Zambia (Bachelor of Arts)
University of Birmingham (Master of Business Administration)

Hakainde Hichilema (born 4 June 1962) is a Zambian businessman and politician who has served as President of Zambia since 24 August 2021. After having contested five times in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016 and won the 2021 election.

He served as the Chief Executive Officer of both Coopers and Lybrand (1994-1998) and Grant Thornton Zambia (1998-2006). Before his election, Hichilema was a major opponent of Edgar Lungu, the President of Zambia from 2015 to 2021. On 11 April 2017, Hichilema was arrested and charged with treason, a move that was seen as an illegitimate act by Lungu to silence a political rival. The arrest and charge were widely condemned, with protests held in Zambia and abroad, demanding Hichilema's release and condemning the increasing authoritarianism of Lungu's regime. Hichilema was released from prison on 16 August 2017, and the charge of treason was dropped.

Early life and career

Hichilema was born in a village in Monze District in present day Zambia. He received a scholarship to study at the University of Zambia and graduated in 1986 with a BA in Economics and Business Administration. He thereafter pursued an MBA in Finance and Business Strategy at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

He served as the Chief Executive Officer of both Coopers and Lybrand (1994-1998) and Grant Thornton Zambia (1998-2006).

Political career

He is a member of the opposition United Party for National Development, a liberal political party. Following the death of Anderson Mazoka in 2006, he was elected as the party's new President. He also served as the leader of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), an alliance of three opposition political parties.

In the 2006 election, Hichilema was the candidate of the UDA and ran against incumbent president Levy Mwanawasa of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy and Patriotic Front candidate Michael Sata. He received the endorsement of former President Kenneth Kaunda. The election was held on 28 September 2006 and Hichilema took third place with about 25% of the vote.

Hichilema ran as the UPND candidate in the 2008 election, which was called following the death of President Levy Mwanawasa.[1] He came 3rd with 19.7% of the vote. In June 2009, Hichilema's party, the UPND, formed a pact with Michael Sata's Patriotic Front (PF) to contest the 2011 election together. However, indecision on the pact candidate, deep mistrust and accusations of tribalism from both sides resulted in the collapse of the pact in March 2011.[2]

He was one of the two main candidates in the 2015 election, which he lost by a narrow margin of just 27,757 votes (1.66%) against the ruling party's candidate. Hichilema denounced the election as a sham and urged his supporters to remain calm.[3][4]

Brutal Arrest & Treason Charge

Hichilema was brutally[5]arrested on 11th April 2017[6] by President Edgar Lungu’s dictatorial regime[7][8][9] and charged with Treason after he was accused of endangering the president's life after his motorcade allegedly refused to give way to the one transporting President Lungu,[10]a case which many viewed as a minor traffic offense[11] [12]and not one that could amount to Treason. Hichilema strongly denied the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of death penalty[13]

Police misconduct during arrest

The police used excessive force[14] to enter Hichilema’s residence damaging his home and property, beat up all his workers, stole colossal sums of money, jewelry, as well as underwear, shoes, speakers, blankets, carpets and food from the Kitchen and defecated on Mr Hichilema’s bed.[15][16] Teargas canisters were thrown inside Hichilema’s home[17]gassing him out including his asthmatic wife and children[18] who collapsed several times due to inhaling Tear Gas.

Condemnation of arrest

Hichilema’s arrest was widely condemned. The United States [19]the European Union[20] and the European Parliament[21]denounced the arrest. The Africa Liberal Network condemned the arrest as an attempt by President Lungu to silence dissent and opposition[22]. The Catholic bishops strongly condemned the arrest and said Zambia had become a dictatorship under President Edgar Lungu[23]. Julius Malema, the leader of South Africa’s EFF party, accused Zambia's president Edgar Lungu of apartheid style repression for detaining Hichilema on treason charges[24]and called president Lungu a “Coward”[25]. Mmusi Maimane, the leader of South Africa’s DA party, who was denied entry into Zambia to visit Hichilema in Jail[26]strongly denounced the trumped up charges against Hichilema.[27]

Time in Jail

Hichilema said in an interview on HARDtalk that during his time in prison he was held in solitary confinement for 8 days without food, water, light or visitation, was tortured by having his private parts pepper sprayed and accused president Lungu of having tried to kill him[28]

His wife Mutinta was turned away by prison officials when she took food for him.

Hichilema’s arrest was the subject of the episode of Al Jazeera's The Stream tv program titled Is Zambia’s democracy in danger[29] which aired on 30th May 2017.

High Profile Jail visitations

Zambia's first president Kenneth Kaunda was turned away when he visited Hichilema in Prison [30].

Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance (South Africa) was also turned away when he came to Zambia to attend Hichilema's court appearance, he was not allowed to disembark from the plane by state agents, had his phone confiscated and was roughed up [31]. This prompted South Africa's Foreign Ministry to summon Zambia's Ambassador to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba to explain the actions of the Zambian regime.

Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo visited Hichilema in Prison [32].

Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland visited Hichilema in Prison twice[33].

State of Emergency

While Hichilema was in Jail, President Lungu imposed a state of emergency[34], a move critics saw as an effort to tighten his grip on power[35]


Protests broke out in Zambia, South Africa[36] and the United Kingdom[37] demanding the release of Hichilema and condemning Edgar Lungu’s authoritarian rule and deteriorating human rights in Zambia.

Release from Prison

Jubilant celebrations broke out throughout Zambia when Hichilema was released from Prison on 16th August 2017 and scores of people lined up the roads of Lusaka to have a glimpse of Hichilema as his motorcade left prison and Hichilema emerged through the Sunroof of his vehicle to wave at the cheering crowds[38].

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, congratulated the Zambian authorities for dropping the treason charges against Hichilema and releasing him from Prison [39].

Thanksgiving Prayers were held to celebrate Hichilema’s release from jail at the Cathedral of Holy Cross in Lusaka on 29th August 2017 and Hichilema was present at the event which drew large crowds and was aired live on Television. The event was originally scheduled to take place the previous week on 24th August but was blocked by heavily armed state police who sealed off the venue.

Hichilema became more popular after his release and was awarded the Africa Freedom Award in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was invited to speak at Catham House in London and was also invited to speak in South Africa to DA Members Parliament[40] and was featured on BBC’s HARDtalk.

A book about Hichilema’s time in Prison called Hakainde Hichilema's Prison Diary was released on 29th September 2017 by Journalist Fredrick Misebezi[41]. Hichilema endorsed the book and urged the public to read it[42].


Hichilema was featured on the popular BBC television program HARDtalk on 1st November 2017.[43] He is the first Zambian opposition political leader to be hosted on HARDtalk and the second Zambian Politician featured after former President Levy Mwanawasa.

Sunday Interview

On 17th December, 2017 Hichilema featured on ZNBC's Sunday Interview making him the first opposition political leader to be hosted on the Sunday Interview.[44] This was after Management at ZNBC had granted a request by the UPND through its Spokesman Charles Kakoma who had written to ZNBC Director General Richard Mwanza requesting that Mr. Hichilema is featured on the Sunday Interview on December 17.[45][46] The programme will be prerecored on Thursday at 10:30hrs and was aired on Sunday evening.[47][45]

Personal life

Hichilema is married to Mutinta and has three children.[48] He is a faithful member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[49] Hichilema is a millionaire and the second-largest cattle rancher in Zambia.[50]

In December 2014, he denied being a Freemason and labelled people accusing him as malicious.[51] He also sued Bishop Edward Chomba of the Orthodox Church for defamation after the former called him a Satanist and a Freemason.[52]


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  1. "Zambia to hold presidential by-election on Oct.30", Xinhua, September 10, 2008.
  2. "Opposition alliance in Zambia collapse as UPND pulls out", Newstime Africa, March 11, 2011.
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  5. Catholic Bishops said they deplore the massive, disproportionate and entirely unnecessary force with which the Police acted in apprehending Hakainde Hichilema
  6. On the night of the 11th of April 2017 the Zambian Police broke down the gate of Hakainde Hichilema’s compound and began their quest to arrest the country’s main opposition leader.
  7. Catholic Bishops condemn HH arrest, say Zambia is now a dictatorship Lusaka Times
  8. Malema compares Zambia leader to apartheid rulers News24
  9. Mr Lungu, meanwhile, faces accusations of growing authoritarianism. BBC News
  10. Mr Hichilema was arrested in April, accused of endangering the president's life after his motorcade allegedly refused to give way to the one transporting Mr Lungu. BBC News. 16 August 2017.
  11. Hakainde Hichilema has now become famous as the man facing treason charges for what appears to be a minor traffic offence
  12. The day road rage led to a treason charge in Zambia, as democracy falters in Africa LA Times]
  13. He and his aides "strongly" denied the charge, which carries a sentence of at least 15 years. Those found guilty can also be sentenced to death. BBC News. 16 August 2017.
  14. Zambia : Police used excessive force to arrest HH and five others-Amnesty International
  15. [ Cops Rob Millions Of Kwacha From Hichilema’s Residence In Midnight Raid
  17. Mr Hichilema was detained after armed police raided his family home, during which teargas canisters were thrown inside
  18. [ Police on Monday night raided Hakainde’s house in New Kasama gassing him out including his wife and children]
  19. USA denounces brutal arrest of HichilemaZambian Watchdog
  20. US, EU Condemn Hichilema Arrest, Treason Charge | Zambia Reports
  21. Human rights: H. Hichilema in Zambia, Dr Gudina in Ethiopia, South Sudan | News | European Parliament
  22. Zambia : HH’s arrest is unacceptable- Africa Liberal Network
  23. Catholic Bishops condemn HH arrest, say Zambia is now a dictatorship
  24. Malema compares Zambia leader to apartheid rulers News24
  25. "Lungu, you are a coward. Allow the opposition to oppose you. If you are a true leader, you will defeat them properly not through arrest," Malema said News24
  26. Maimane prevented from entering Zambia
  27. Maimane had strongly denounced the trumped up charges against Hichilema, and had condemned the African National Congress government for not yet taking a stand against his treason charges. eNCA
  28. BBC World News - HARDtalk, Hakainde Hichilema
  29. []
  30. Kenneth Kaunda Turned Away From Visiting Hichilema In Prison
  31. Maimane prevented from entering Zambia
  32. Former Nigerian President Obasanjo goes to visit HH in prison – Mwebantu
  33. Secretary-General meets Zambian president and opposition leader | The Commonwealth
  34. Zambia's president declares state of emergency and sparked authoritarian rule concerns — Quartz
  35. Zambian President Edgar Lungu this month imposed a state of emergency, a move critics see as an effort to tighten his grip on power News24
  36. [1]
  37. [2]
  38. Zambia: Hakainde Hichilema released from jail to jubilant reception, more popular than everDaily Maverick
  39. Statement By Kofi Annan Following The Release Of Hakainde Hichilema
  40. [3]
  41. Hakainde Hichilema's Prison Diary (Book) Released On The Market And Selling At A Very Fast Rate!!!
  42. And Mr Hichilema has endorsed the book and urged the public to read it
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