Viral video of Zambian president is AI-generated

The Claim: CLAIM: Zambia president Haikande Hichilema is not seeking re-election in the 2026 elections
The Verdict: claim verdict

CLAIM: Zambia president Haikande Hichilema is not seeking re-election in the 2026 elections

A video went viral on social media claiming that Zambia president Haikande Hichilema will not be contesting for his second term in the 2026 elections.

The video which originated on Tik Tok by a user called @Zambia_Ai shows Hichilema announcing his decision not to run in the next elections.

“I wish to express my sincere acknowledgement of the challenges we have faced during my tenure as the leader of this great nation. It is with utmost sincerity and with a profound sense of duty to our great nation that I announce my decision not to seek re-election in the upcoming general elections in 2026. I believe this decision is in the best interest of our country and its future,” Hichilema says.

Why do we know the video is fake?

A quick perusal of @Zambia_Ai profile on Tik Tok shows that the user has been using Artificial Intelligence to clone videos of Zambian politicians including former president Edgar Lungu.

The video under scrutiny is AI-generated and here is what gives it away.

In the video, they used a standstill picture of Hichilema. It is the same picture that he uses on his official X account @HHichilema. They then superimposed an AI-generated video of Hichilema’s face. In the video, the movement of the head and lips is not in sync with the rest of the body. There is no natural movement.

The United Party for National Development (UPND) dismisses it as fake.

In a statement, the ruling party, warned members of the public against “abusing President Hakainde Hichilema through publicity of fictitious, malicious articles against the Head of State”.

“We understand the desperation of the opposition political parties to an extent where they are now ready to commit criminality against the popularly elected Head of State.

These rogue elements are creating and circulating fake videos which mimic the President with electronically generated voice intended to mislead the public,” said party secretary general Batuke Imenda.

“The party wishes to warn that anyone behind the said video will pay heavily as soon as the law catches up with them”.

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