SOUTHERN African Development Community (SADC) chairperson Dr Lazarus Chakwera says the peaceful transition of power in Zambia is proof that Africa is not a charity case to be pitied or an infant that needs babysitting.

And Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland says things in Zambia had deteriorated so much that many feared it would take a miracle for change to come.

Meanwhile, United Kingdom Minister for Africa James Duddridge says President Hakainde Hichilema’s election has already acted as an inspiration to millions of people.

Speaking during President Hichilema’s inauguration ceremony, Tuesday, Dr Chakwera, who is also President of the Republic of Malawi, said the Zambian story was positive proof that Africa was not free for all; to be scrambled for.

“Make no mistake, what we are witnessing today is more than an inauguration. What we are witnessing here today is no mere ceremony or ritual, rather it is history. This here is the triumph of the best virtues of the African spirit. This here is the coronation of the finest qualities of the African disposition. This here is the embodiment of the Africa we want because this here is the Africa we know ourselves to be. No longer should the watching world dare to define what Africa is, lest they misrepresent it yet again by majoring on minors for advancing the usual Afro-pessimism that amplifies negatives read out of context,” he said.

“This Zambian story is proof positive that Africa is not an infant to be babysat. This Zambian story is proof positive that Africa is not a free for all to be scrambled for, hoodwinked and robbed by the mercenaries of eastern and western greed. This Zambian story is proof positive that Africa is not a charity case to be pitied. The world need not wonder what Africa is because this Zambian story has put the truth on display for the entire world to see.”

Dr Chakwera also noted that the peaceful transfer of power was a sign of the continent’s spirit of civility and generosity.

“Africa is the spirit of unity finding expression here in the will of the Zambian electorate. Africa is the spirit of maturity finding expression here in the magnanimity of our brother Edgar Lungu. Africa is the spirit of tenacity finding expression here in the fortitude of President Hakainde Hichilema. Africa is the spirit of civility and generosity finding expression in this remarkably peaceful transfer of power from one president to another and from one party to another. Africa is the spirit of solidarity finding expression here in the presence of Africans from across the continent to celebrate with the Zambian people. All over the continent and the diaspora, Africans are right to celebrate like they are all Zambians today. The symphony of African virtues the Zambian people have orchestrated in this story are a true representation of all of us. Those virtues are worthy of the celebration of our hearts and the dancing of our feet,” he said.

And speaking at the same event, Scotland said many feared that this day would never come.

“Many feared that this day would never come, that a peaceful election in Zambia was no longer possible, that it was an aspiration that could not and would not be fulfilled. Feared that there could be little upon it could be based. Things had gone too far, the divisions were too deep and there was no evidence to sustain the hope for peace, [many] feared it would take a miracle. But what is a miracle? What creates it? What makes it possible? It is people and in this case, it is the people of Zambia. People who are able to see how life could and should be. People who have the willingness and courage to fight for that which looks impossible. But to know, it only seems impossible until it is done. And then the impossible becomes the inevitable,” Scotland said.

She said President Hichilema and Lungu were both winners.

“President Hichilema won the vote, and president Lungu won the hearts of every person who loves democracy and peace by gracefully transferring democratically the leadership and extending his brotherly hand to president Hichilema,” said Scotland.

Meanwhile, Duddridge said Zambia should be proud of its third peaceful transition of power.

“This is of course the third peaceful transition of power in Zambia. Since 1990, 24 transitions have taken place on the continent, three of which have been here. You should collectively be proud of that. It is also fitting that this event is graced not only by heads of states from nations across the continent but also members of opposition parties from the region and the continent. It is a celebration of democracy as well as an acknowledgement of the victory. It is an honour to see many Zambians across the country who flocked here to see their new President. It is a truly momentous and historical occasion for the country and the wider region,” said Duddrige.

“The people of this country have shown themselves to be an inspiration in continuing democratic transitions and doing so through peace, humility and respect. Let’s all take pleasure in the joy of seeing Zambian people exercise their democratic rights and welcome their new leader.”

He also congratulated President Hichilema and assured Zambia of continued support from his country.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo also spoke at the event, saying Zambia had shown that something good can come out of Africa.

“I bring you our congratulations and we are here to felicitate with you as leader of this great country for the example you have shown to the rest of Africa and Indeed the rest of the world that good things can come out of Africa by giving the people of this country, the people of this region and the people of Africa that it can been done to have a smooth transition of leadership from one regime to another, from one political party to another,” said Obasanjo.

Meanwhile, African Union chairperson Felix Tshisekedi said Zambia had gratified people with its jealously defended democratic maturity.

“This Tuesday August 24, 2021 will remain anchored in our memories. Indeed you have gratified us dear people with the opportunity to experience once again the manifestation of your heartwarming and jealousy defended democratic maturity through this transfer of power between President Hichilema and president Lungu. On this historic day, for the Republic of Zambia and Africa, I cannot fail to pay a vibrant tribute to the father of Zambian independence Dr Kenneth Kaunda whose role was pivotal in bringing about what we are experiencing today,” said Tshisekedi, who is also Democratic Republic of Congo President.