Zambian opposition leader Michael Sata has been sworn in as president after beating incumbent Rupiah Banda in a tightly contested election. Mr Sata, who had run for the presidency four times, was declared the winner with 43% of the vote.
“The people of Zambia have spoken and we must all listen,” Mr Banda told journalists, wiping away tears after finishing his speech. His Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) had ruled Zambia for 20 years.
Mr Sata – the candidate of the Patriotic Front (PF) party – was sworn in by the Chief Justice Ernest Sakala and handed the ceremonial presidential flag by Mr Banda. He said he would fulfill his electoral promises, including forcing foreign companies to improve working conditions. “I promise to put Zambia first,” he told thousands of people at the ceremony in Lusaka. Mr Sata said he would reduce the size of government and tackle corruption. “Corruption has been a scourge in this country and there is a wide link between corruption and poverty,” he said.
Mr Banda told the BBC’s Focus on Africa program that he attended the ceremony to “greet my friend, Mr Sata, and to show the country how we should pass the mantle.” “Deep inside me, I feel some kind of relief that this is over and this has been done in a democratic and civilized way,” he said
Mr Sata has promised to re-introduce the windfall mining tax and to promote policies that will bring greater benefit to poor people.
More than 60% of Zambians live on less than $2 (£1.29) a day.
Article from the BBC Website