Former Zambia president Rupiah Banda seeks re-election

2014-11-17 21:46

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Lusaka – Zambia’s opposition was plunged into crisis just weeks before elections as former president Rupiah Banda claimed he had wrested the party’s nomination from a rival and vowed a political comeback.

Elections in the copper-rich nation are due within months, following the death in office of 77-year-old president Michael Sata, who passed away in London in October from an undisclosed ailment.

Banda, who is also 77, today announced that a committee of the opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) had elected him as its candidate for the vote expected in January.

But rival Nevers Mumba, who had long been regarded as a shoo-in for the job, challenged that assertion, telling AFP he was the party’s candidate.

“I’m not aware of such a decision,” he said, adding that the meeting yesterday, which he chaired, did not vote for Banda.

“Constitutionally, I am the president of MMD and I will stand as the presidential candidate,” he said.

Banda, who holds no position in the party, said 19 out of 23 top MMD officials plumped for him as the party’s candidate at the meeting.

“We have very little time for campaigns and all genuine MMD members should support this decision,” he said.

Banda lost the 2011 vote to Sata, and is currently standing trial for corruption as part of a crackdown led by the late leader.

He has recently publicly hinted at a possible return to politics, saying he was legally eligible to stand for re-election if needed.

Zambia’s Vice President Guy Scott is currently leading the country until fresh election are held. He is not eligible to run for president because of his foreign roots.

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