Zambia: Opposition to block Banda's nomination

Image of Mazuba Mwiinga

Zambia: Opposition to block Banda's nomination

by Mazuba Mwiinga

As Zambia’s tripartite election campaigns get tense, incumbent President Rupiah Banda’s nomination bid for re-election under the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), gets more shock waves from the opposition.

Opposition Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary General Wynter Kabimba, has now stretched his bid to stop President Banda from contesting the presidency by writing to SADC, AU and UN.

Speaking to journalists in Lusaka on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 Kabimba said that President Banda need to clear his parentage controversy before he files in his nomination to stand as a Presidential candidate for MMD.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has set August 7 to 10 as period for the presidential nominations.

The Zambian constitution allows only a person whose both parents are Zambians by birth and descent to aspire for the highest seat in the nation. The PF and other critics of Mr. Banda claim that his mother was born in Zimbabwe where his father used to work as a Miner in the colonial days.

But MMD Secretary General Richard Kachingwe speaking to State television, ZNBC said that Mr. Kabimba’s sentiments are ‘baseless and have no substance’. He wondered why the PF is bringing in the issue now when Mr. Banda has worked in various positions in government before and that no one challenged his candidature during the 2008 presidential by election.

Mr. Banda’s press aide, Dickson Jere talking to journalists in Lusaka said that Mr. Banda will not stand in the way of anyone who wants to challenge his candidature but wondered why the PF want to seek legal redress from outside when Zambia has its own legal system they can seek help from.

The parentage clause in the Zambian constitution was put in 1996 when former president Kenneth Kaunda intended to stand against former late president Frederick Chiluba. Kaunda’s parents were from Malawi and this clause barred him from contesting the presidency in a country he ruled for 27years earlier.

Some critics say that, to say Mr. Banda has been around in government is immaterial and that all the PF need to do is prove that Mr. Banda’s parents were not Zambians. This matter is likely to intensify as the nomination date gets closer.

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