Zambian opposition tries to bar Banda
Lusaka - Zambia's main opposition party the Patriotic Front on Thursday accused President Rupiah Banda of lying about his parents' nationality and asked a court to block him from contesting next month's polls.
The country's constitution requires both parents of presidential aspirants to be born in Zambia, but in documents filed at High Court, PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba said Banda's parents were born in Malawi.
"We are claiming a declaratory judgment or order that the parents of President Banda are not citizens of Zambia by birth and that the MMD [Movement for Multi-party Democracy] cannot by law sponsor him as presidential candidate," Kabimba said in the court papers.
Banda's spokesperson Dickson Jere questioned why the opposition did not challenge Banda's candidature in 2008, when he won a special election following the death of former president Levy Mwanawasa.
"Why didn't they block him in 2008? The PF kept quiet in 2008," Jere said in a statement.
Kabimba said that in the last election, Banda swore under oath that both his parents were born in Chipata, a town near the Malawi border. He said the PF now believes that Banda lied, and wants the court to rule on the matter.
Banda has set a general election for September 20, and is campaigning on the strong economic performance by Africa's biggest copper producer.
PF leader Michael Sata is his main challenger in the race, after Banda only narrowly defeated him in 2008.