Rupiah’s Presidential nomination on watch
by Mazuba Mwiinga
With Zambia's election date already on the calendar, and the Presidential nomination period now set for August 7 to 10, high expectations are on the wait as to whether incumbent president Rupiah Banda will be allowed to stand as his nationality has be questioned in the recent past.   

In a statement to the media on July 30, 2011 ECZ director Priscilla Isaac says that the Presidential nominations will take place at the Supreme Court before the Chief Justice with each aspiring candidate backed by 200 registered voters.

“Aspiring candidates will be required to pay K10 million ($2000) non-refundable nomination fee. Each aspiring candidate may have not more than two election agents per constituency for the presidential election,” Isaac said.

She said that Presidential aspiring candidates will be expected to lodge complete and attested statutory declaration, oath/affirmation of Zambian citizenship and nomination papers subscribed before the Chief Justice.

According to Article 34 (3) (b) of the Zambian Constitution a person can only be qualified to be a candidate for election as President if both his parents are Zambians by birth or descent and himself has been domiciled in Zambia for more than 20 years among other requirements.

But Mr. Banda’s critics have been urging the Law Association of Zambia to petition the Chief Justice in investigating his parentage claiming that his mother was Zimbabwean. Mr. Banda himself is on record as having said he was born in Zimbabwe where his father worked during the colonial days as a miner.

Article 34 (3) (a) of the Zambian Constitution requires one to aspire as a President if they were citizens of Zambia and for one to be a citizen they must have attained the age of 21 and legally registered by the Citizenship board and have been in Zambia for more than 10 years.

Mr. Banda have served in many government portfolios including that of diplomat in the independence government of former president Dr. Kenneth Kaunda from the 60s till the late 80s when he went into retirement. He was called back into active politics by the late Levy Mwanawasa in 2006 as vice President and attained the Presidency after the 2008 Presidential by elections after Mwanawasa demise.

His MMD Party speaking on ‘continuity with change’ is facing Micheal Sata’s Patriotic Front (PF) campaigning on a platform of ‘change for more money in your pockets’, and the United Party for National Development (UPND) of Hakainde Hichilema campaigning on the ‘real and meaningful change for a better Zambia’.

Whichever change will ring a bell in the ears of the electorate this is likely to be Zambia’s most highly contested election since independence in 1964. The three major Parties will have to share the five million plus registered voters captured by the ECZ.

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