Zambia’s new President Hakainde Hichilema warned lawmakers and government institutions against corruption while address the parliament in his first speech after taking over power last month.
On Friday, Hichilema vowed to strengthen anti-corruption efforts and show zero tolerance in Zambia.
On his arrival at the National Assembly, Hichilema received a 21-gun salute and inspected the guard of honour before entering hand-in-hand with his wife, Mutinta.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy on corruption in all its forms,” Hichilema said, speaking in a medical mask and white gloves before lawmakers.
“There will be no sacred cows in the fight,” he added. “We will increase the benefits of being honest and the cost of being corrupt.”
He also promised to strengthen investigative wings agencies and create special courts to hear corruption cases in Zambia.
“We have indeed inherited an economy that is in dire straits and requires bold and decisive action,” Hichilema said, vowing to boost key sectors like mining, agriculture and tourism.
He has vowed to secure a bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund — a drawn-out negotiation process started under Lungu — and to achieve economic growth of more than 10 percent within five years.
Hichilema beat his long-term rival Edgar Lungu in August 12 polls by a landslide of almost one million votes — a victory hailed as a democratic milestone for opposition movements in Africa having contested for presidential bid and fail for five times before his win in the sixth bid.
Hakainde Hichilema describes himself as an ordinary “cattle boy”, who herded his family’s livestock in his youth before going on to become one of Zambia’s richest men.