NEW Heritage Party president Chishala Kateka has conceded defeat, describing Thursday’s election as a protest vote meant to eject the party in power.

Speaking to journalists at the national results management centre, Saturday, Kateka said her party would respect the choice which the people had made.

“Following our participation in the 2021 elections in which the New Heritage Party sponsored me, Chishala Kateka as presidential candidate, I now wish on behalf of my party to concede defeat. We recognise that there can only be one winner in an election. There were 16 of us and I think that 16 candidates was an indication of the concerns that those 16 presidential candidates had for our country. We as the New Heritage Party went into the election believing we had the best manifesto to develop our beloved country, and we did our best to convince the people of the supremacy of our clans. The people of Zambia have made their choice and we fully respect that,” she said.

Kateka said the party would ensure that it remains relevant and offer checks and balances.

“As it is the bedrock of democracy to accept the will of the people, allow me to thank all the party members and sympathisers as well as those who believe in us and voted for us for their confidence in our ability to form a government that could deliver. We have made a start to our political journey during which we will endeavour to be fully relevant to our times and offer checks and balances as well as advice on alternative ways of governing the country as the need may arise,” she said.

Kateka, however, said the party would issue its formal congratulations to the winner once the Electoral Commission of Zambia made the official announcement.

“We as the New Heritage Party, in conformity with ECZ guidelines will issue our formal congratulations to the winner once ECZ has made the official announcement. As we await results, I would like to urge the general public as fellow political parties to bear with the process and understand that there is a process that needs to be followed and let’s not put them under pressure,” she said.

And when asked what she made of her party’s performance, Kateka said the vote was a protest one and not a rejection of other opposition parties.

“I think we have done well considering the fact that people were telling a story. I think this was more of a protest vote and so they were not against us, the other opposition parties, they were actually fighting to get a certain government out of power. So we are good,” said Kateka.