African Union (AU) High Representative for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga has arrived in the country ahead of today’ss inauguration of President-elect Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr. Odinga is in the country at the invitation of President-elect Hichilema, who is expected to be sworn in today (24th August) as Zambia’s seventh President.
The plane carrying Mr. Odinga touched down at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) yesterday at 16:05 hours local time. He was welcomed on arrival by Deputy Secretary to Cabinet for Finance and Economic Development Mike Masiye.
Speaking to journalists shortly on arrival, Mr. Odinga said he is happy with the peaceful transition of power witnessed in Zambia. He said Zambia is a model of what opposition political parties can achieve if they worked as a united front.
Mr. Odinga, who is also opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader in Kenya, said opposition political parties in Africa must emulate Zambia by ensuring that the opposition put aside their ideological differences and unite to work together. He explained that it is difficult for a sitting government to rig an election when opposition parties unite.
Meanwhile, Mr. Odinga said the government and the opposition should not have an adversary relationship. He indicated that the government and opposition political parties must coexist for the betterment of the people.
Mr. Odinga has since advised the incoming government not to extinguish the opposition but to rather work hand in hand in growing the country’s democratic tenets. He said the role of the opposition is to provide checks and balances to the sitting government.
Mr, Odinga revealed in an interview that government will not be able to know where it is failing if the opposition is extinguished. He emphasised the need for government and the opposition to work closely and deepen the country’s democracy.
Mr. Odinga further encouraged the outgoing President Edgar Lung and incoming President-elect Hichilema to working together.