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Zambia: Who is Edgar Lungu?

July 19, 2018 1:49 am

President Edgar Lungu

The current president of Zambia, Edgar Lungu was born 11 November 1956 at Ndola Central Hospital.

The landlocked country of Zambia has experienced rapid economic growth over the last decade as Africa’s second largest copper producer after the DR Congo. But its over-reliance on copper has made it vulnerable to falling commodity prices.


Edgar Lungu

After graduating with a LL.B. in 1981 from the University of Zambia, he joined the law firm Andre Masiye and Company in Lusaka. He subsequently underwent military officer training at Miltez in Kabwe under Zambia National Service (ZNS).

He then returned to practising law. In 2010, Edgar Lungu had his law practicing licence suspended by the Law Association of Zambia. This was after he was found guilty of professional misconduct.


Political rise

He joined the United Party for National Development under the leadership of Anderson Mazoka, but later moved to the Patriotic Front (PF) led by party founder Michael Sata.

President Edgar Lungu

After the PF won the 2011 election, Lungu became Junior Minister in the Vice-President’s office. He was then promoted to Minister of Home Affairs on 9 July 2012. He became Minister of Defence on 24 December 2013 after Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba resigned from his ministerial post, and he functioned as Acting President during President Sata’s long term illness in 2013–14. He has also held a number of central positions in his party, including Chair of the PF Central Committee on Discipline, and he became PF Secretary General and Minister of Justice on 28 August 2014 to replace Wynter Kabimba, who was fired. These positions were in addition to the Defence portfolio.

President Sata went abroad for medical treatment on 19 October 2014, leaving Lungu in charge of the country in his absence. Sata died on 28 October 2014. Vice-President Guy Scott took over as Acting President, and Lungu was viewed as one of the main contenders to ultimately succeed Sata in a presidential by-election.

Lungu was adopted as the candidate of the ruling Patriotic Front for the January 2015 presidential by-election, which was to determine who would serve out the remainder of Sata’s term. In the election, he narrowly defeated opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema and took office on 25 January 2015.

Lungu was elected to a full presidential term in the August 2016 election, again narrowly defeating Hichilema. Hichilema initially disputed the election result and filed a case at the Constitutional Court to nullify the result. On 5 September, however, the court dismissed the case. Edgar Lungu was sworn in for his first full term on 13 September 2016.


Winning elections

On 20 January 2015 Lungu contested the presidential by-election and beat his closest rival Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development by a narrow majority of just 27,757 votes (1.66%), with just 32.36% of the registered electorate participating. He was declared the winner by the Electoral Commission of Zambia on 24 January.



Mr Lungu, who has a condition affecting his oesophagus, had surgery in South Africa in March 2015. He collapsed at an event in Lusaka the month before. Recently in March 2018 when he visited South Africa some sources said Edgar Lungu is failing to eat and his intestines are shrinking. Lungu responded saying he is as ‘fit as a fiddle’.


Regional relations

Zambia is a member of 44 international organizations, with the United Nations, World Trade Organization, African Union and Southern African Development Community being among the most notable.

Lungu, Mnangagwa, Khama discuss Kazungula Bridge project

Zambia helped the liberation of southern Africa which includes Zimbabwe and Angola. Edgar Lungu, Seretse Khama and Emmerson Mnangagwa resolved the border dispute which took so many years in the cold. Zambia trades locally with all southern African countries.

Author: Gesture Chidhanguro

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