Banda launches re-election campaign

2011-08-01 17:51

Lusaka - Zambian President Rupiah Banda launched his re-election campaign on Friday, urging voters to reward his stewardship of the economy which has experienced bumper harvests and a mining boom.

Banda launched the campaign for his ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) at Lusaka's posh Intercontinental Hotel, vowing victory in the September 20 general elections.

"Only the MMD has delivered good results for all Zambians. Why? Because only an MMD government can deliver security, stability and prosperity for all Zambians," Banda said.

Banda touted the country's bumper harvests of the staple crop maize over the past three years, driven by subsidies for small farmers.

"Zambia now exports food to Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and to the wider world and many farming jobs have been created," Banda said.

He pointed to mines that had closed during the global financial crisis in 2008 but that were now back at work in Africa's largest copper producer.

Output last year hit a four-decade high in Zambia as Banda's government has actively courted foreign investment to revitalise its mines.

Banda narrowly defeated the main opposition leader Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front during a special presidential election called in 2008 following the death of president Levy Mwanawasa.

Sata has already lost three presidential bids, despite his strong support among the urban poor and unemployed youth who have been drawn to his fiery rhetoric against the growing Chinese presence in Zambia.

Campaigning runs to September 18.