Thousands of Zambians filled the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on Tuesday to witness the peaceful handover of power from Edgar Lungu to the new President Hakainde Hichilema.
Dignitaries included leaders; South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Malawi’s Lazarus Chakwera and Botswana’s Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The army band did its bit to entertain the massive crows that hardly observed any social distance. Few wore masks.
Most of the people in the stadium wore red, the colour of Hichilema’s victorious United Party for National Development (UPND).
In typical Lungu fashion, he was the last to arrive escorted by a rather large presidential motorcade complete with motorbikes.
Occasionally, 59-year-old Hichilema’s face came up on the giant screen and he waved at the crowds with his gloved hands.
His white gloves seemed odd in the warm temperature, but then there was Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa with his multi colour scarf.
Mutale Nalumango, an ex-deputy speaker of Parliament, who automatically becomes vice-president by virtue of being Hichilema’s running-mate in the poll on 12 August, sat quietly.
A prayer was said to mark the beginning of the inauguration ceremony.
The acting chief justice, Michael Musonda, administered the oath of office to Hichilema, who wore a mask.
“So help me God,” said Hichilema to cheers after he made his pledges to the Zambian people and his country’s constitution.
There was also a symbolic handover of “the instruments” of power that were in a bag from Lungu to Hachilema.
Nalumango, 66, also took her oath as the vice-president amid wild cheers. She also wore white gloves.
Hichilema, who is Zambia’s seventh president at the sixth time of trying, also assumed the position of commander in chief of Zambia’s armed forces.
There was a 21 gun salute to mark the occasion.