Hichilema said he was imprisoned on trumped-up charges, but was released in 2017 after the intervention of the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
“Patricia Scotland didn’t give up. The Commonwealth didn’t give up as they came back before the election”, even though the situation didn’t improve before she left in 2018.
Hichilema said Zambia was confronted with numerous political and social challenges of lack of respect to the rule of law, violence and non-respect for human rights which the Commonwealth spent much time to address.
According to him, there was no political space, and no freedom for Zambians to participate in their national government through democratic instruments at that time, adding that government didn’t allow registration of voters.
He maintained: “I’m talking about issues of violence, community political violence that needed to be dealt with. I’m talking about voter register, voter database that needed to be deemed to be fair and to continue trying to help build peace.
Meanwhile, in a statement of solidarity for the inauguration of Hichilema, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of nations commended the roles played by Zambia’s new President, Hakainde Hichilema and his predecessor, Edgar Lungu in the successful conduct of the country’s Presidential election, saying there was no loser between them but two winners.
She offered her congratulation to the people of Zambi and the duo of Hichilema and Lungu saying the election would go down in history as an election with no losers, but two winners.
“Zambia’s “miraculous” 2021 election would go down in history as an election with no losers, but two winners – President Hichilema who won the vote, and President Lungu who won the hearts of every person who loves democracy and peace by a graceful democratic transfer of leadership and extending his brotherly hand to President Hichilema.” Scotland said in a statement,” she said.
The presidential election that brought Hakainde Hichilema to power was conducted on August 12, 2021.