How Zambia’s Opposition Won

Issue Date January 2022
Volume 33
Issue 1
Page Numbers 70–84
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On 12 August 2021, Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) was elected Zambia’s seventh president in a landslide . The defeat of the incumbent, Edgar Lungu, symbolizes a hopeful turning point away from the country’s decade-long period of democratic backsliding. This article examines how Hichilema succeeded in his fifth bid for the presidency, emphasizing his strategic efforts to broaden the UPND’s appeal, widespread popular grievances against Lungu’s economic mismanagement, and the resilience of Zambian civil society. Hichilema now faces huge expectations from voters, including managing a massive national debt and restoring the rule of law.

About the Author

Danielle Resnick is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a nonresident fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. She is the author of Urban Poverty and Party Populism in African Democracies (2014).

View all work by Danielle Resnick