Mr Hichilema was born into humble beginnings in the southern district of Monze.
He managed to get a scholarship to the University of Zambia, and later graduated with an MBA degree from the University of Birmingham in the UK. He later became the head of two major accounting firms before entering politics.
Mr Hichilema has described himself as an ordinary “cattle boy” and has contested and lost every election held in Zambia since 2006. However, each time he has increased his share of the vote.
In 2016, Mr Hichilema said the election was stolen from him after he lost to Mr Lungu by just 100,000 votes.
Mr Hichilema has faced problems with authorities since entering politics.
After the 2016 election, he was charged with treason for allegedly failing to give way to the presidential motorcade. He spent four months in a maximum-security jail before the charges were dropped.