Sata declared Zambia’s next president

2011-09-23 07:25

Lusaka - Michael Sata, the populist leader of Zambia's opposition, was declared the country's next president early on Friday, after a tense election marred by outbursts of violence that left two people dead.

Sata's own supporters, fearful that President Rupiah Banda's camp was trying to steal the vote, were behind much of the unrest.

But as Chief Justice Ernest Sakala declared his victory shortly after midnight, they poured into the streets of Lusaka cheering, dancing and honking horns.

Riot police stood by as the crowd chanted "Let's go Sata! Let's go!"

"This is the result that the Zambian people have been expecting for a very long time. Finally this is it," said Edward Mwalimu, a university lecturer who joined the throng.

The electoral commission said Sata had won with 43% of the vote to Banda's 36%, with a handful of constituencies still counting ballots.

His swearing-in was expected around midday on Friday, which will make Zambia one of the few countries in Africa to have two democratic transitions of power since independence.

Banda's Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) has ruled since Frederick Chiluba unseated independence leader Kenneth Kaunda in the first democratic elections in 1991.


But Chiluba's graft trial changed public perceptions of the party.

Convicted of corruption in a London court, he was acquitted in Lusaka. Banda's government refused to appeal, and he disbanded the anti-corruption team that had brought the case to trial.

That only fuelled Sata's campaign, as he promised to clean up graft.

"We finally got the leader who we wanted and who will listen to our cries," said a joyous Shadrack Mwewa, 20, a driver who sang the national anthem in the street after the result was announced.

"I like him because I know that him being in power, he will bring change."

His supporters' frustration at the slow pace of the vote count turned to violence on Thursday in two key Copperbelt mining towns. Police there said two people were killed in riots that they had to break up with tear gas and water cannons.

One person died after being hit by a mini-bus during the riots, while another was apparently shot dead, provincial police chief Martin Malama told AFP.

Riots also erupted in several slums around the capital during balloting Tuesday as Sata supporters alleged their opponents were trying to steal the vote.

Observers said they had not found any evidence to back up the claims of fraud, but they insisted the violence had not compromised the elections.

Sata’s critics

But EU monitors accused Banda's ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) - which has been in power for 20 years - of having abused state resources, including the media and vehicles, during its campaign.

Although at 74 Sata is showing signs of his age, he tapped into the grievances of the youth and the urban poor who feel left out of the impressive economic growth in Africa's biggest copper producing nation.

The Patriotic Front has vowed to bring back a 25% windfall tax on mining revenues that Banda's government abolished in 2009.

The increase in copper prices since then - from around $3 000 a ton to almost $10 000 - and the friendly tax regime have drawn a rush of foreign and investment to Zambia, particular the Chinese.

Sata's critics fear that this strong-willed firebrand, who has openly expressed his admiration for Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, could prove to be an authoritarian president.

But analysts have said they expect few major policy changes from a man who has muted many of his toughest stances in recent years, despite his populist appeal.

  • OldSA - 2011-09-23 07:43

    He is an old stall African leader and he will chase away investors as his friends does. Zambia will be inruines before he dies.

      Ingletor - 2011-09-23 07:47

      It already is.

      tshwanecc - 2011-09-23 08:27

      You moron just keep quite. Zambia is in ruins already due to corruption. Which investors are you talking about? Did the Bandas give you back door deal? Sata is a no nonsense character and will deal with you.

      Fakmore - 2011-09-23 09:25

      Good news indeed for Zambia that they now have a leader with vision..a leader who admires the most eminent Robert Mugabe (the mere mention of his name makes racists squeal!!). To hell with ex-trade unionists like Chiluba, Banda, Tsvangson, Mantashe, Kgalema, Ramaphosa....these lot are easily briabable and harbour ambitions to be on the other side of the exploters frontier. Empowerment is here and here to advance.

      Martin du Plessis - 2011-09-23 10:24

      Well, the fact that the opposition won the election tis time shows that their democracy is slightly more mature than SAs, even if you take all the violence into account.

  • 2002 - 2011-09-23 07:44

    For change, its good to have new poeple in power. This should be a lerson to liberation movements in SADC region who seems to be thinkng they have the birth right to rule their countries for life regardless of their services to the mass population. Next parties to go, MPLA, ZANU-pf, and SWAPO. Have been in gorvenance for too long without improving livelihhod of their citizens. Time for change is now.

  • AMS-Dammer - 2011-09-23 07:54

    YAWN!!!!!!!! Another DESPOT /DICK-TATOR replacing the CURRENT ONE? Let's wait 'n see.... Hope we don't get the "MY TURN TO FEED AT THE TROUGH" chirps.....

  • Blikskottel - 2011-09-23 08:04

    If he support Magabe, I see trouble brewing.

      Fakmore - 2011-09-23 09:27

      Thats the saving grace...that he supports Mugabe...not these trade union guys who loot Ramaphosa, Mothlante, Mantashe etc..tell me u admire Mantashe???

  • izit - 2011-09-23 08:08

    I dont know how you can say Zambia is in ruins. It could be better but there is little crime, nobody dies of hunger, the education is ok and it improves everytime I go there.

      Paul - 2011-09-23 08:26

      I agree it is one of the African countries where one can see constant improvement. I just hope that the new guy carries on in the same vein and does not go back to overly socalist like policies which chases investment away.

  • Satheesh Kumar - 2011-09-23 08:23

    Congratulations for the newly elected premier, hope he follow Ghandhi's principle to lead the nation into prosperity.. people have given him a chance to perform, let hope the new rise of zambian economy with peace and prosperity. Viva Sata, India and Indian wish peace, harmony and prosperity of Africa.

  • Vabond - 2011-09-23 08:27

    I wonder what will happen to the land leased to SA farmers there....

  • tootingdel - 2011-09-23 09:09

    Despite some of the comments below this is good news. Whatever you may think of the new president's policies it is good news because change has happenned in a southern african country via the ballot box despite the incumbent holding the purse strings and managing the state media. There is hope for Zimbabwe and even South Africa to make changes by ousting the ruling party. It is also good in that hopefully Sata will curb the new colonialism of Africa by the Chinese expolitation of Africa's resoures abusing African labor and giving back virtually nothing to the local economy.

      Fakmore - 2011-09-23 09:30

      It is the trade unionists like Tsvangson who are being replaced by nationalists....not all change is positive..this in Zambia is....Zimbabweans rejected meaningless change and keeps Mugabe in Office...thats what being an educated country does....knows what is good and what is bad change....Oh!! nato liberated libya...killed 40,000 and will continue killing for at least 3 more months...I suppose you think thats a good change...40,000 dead....

  • Andy - 2011-09-23 09:20

    This is disasterous.Country will regress 20 years in 3 years max.White farmers will be targeted as well as foreign investors(Incl China).If you are planning something big in Zambia ,put it on ice-I hope I am proved wrong as this is just a wonderful Country

      izit - 2011-09-23 09:25

      why the alarm? why is this disasterous?

      Fakmore - 2011-09-23 09:31

      Andy, doers dont waste their time reading comments from anonymous people to make investment decisions...You cant even identify Zambia on a map with the name Zambia written on it....

      2002 - 2011-09-23 12:26

      This is the problem cripling Africa at large, thinking that only foreigners and whites can be viable investers. Big no to this kind of thinking, even local people and those willing to share knowledge with citizens can be investers too. The knowledge question is fake, Africans do have the knowlegde too, the only problem mainly is starting capital, of which has to be borrowed from the BANKS which are controlled by white individuals with negative motives toward potential and knoledgeable black intrepreanuers. Andy you seem to have that "only whites" can farm syndrom, like it or not its a fact. You can thumb-down as much as you like, the truth is to be told. Period

  • lungelo mpatho - 2011-09-23 14:39


  • john smith - 2011-09-23 23:26

    problem in africa is that there are to many people who think like 2002 in this comment section. he forget that those whites who get the loans must pay it back, it is not a charity write off. sadly 2002 and many blacks and some whites with the same stupid ytunnel vision know nothing, if you have been from sa like me and lived in 12 african counties, sorry 2002 you talk rubbish, its time black and whites realise there strong and week, south africa nabia the boomers, botswana and in a way moz doing well, but they are linked to the successes of apartheid south africa (whether it was wright or wrong) (you cant change history, thats the truth) and zambia, good that democracy worked, sadly in my opinion the new guy will fail, and yes with out white investors and white farmers they will go no where, the chinese rape the land, the indians rape the people, and the black elite only help themself, any body who argues diffrently is either stupid or nether travelled africa

  • Michael McN - 2011-09-25 00:01

    My impression of Zambia is it is a country in a hurry to improve itself in every way, if only government would stop leaning on the shovel and actually help get the work done. My hope is that Mr. Sata will evaluate what MMD policies have actually helped make Zambia better--- and there were several--- and keep those in place while getting rid of the wasteful, stupid or criminal policies that have held Zambia back. Education is the key. All those millions of kids so eager to learn how to be useful to their country and providers for their families must not be neglected. Zambia could be the next India. Training and provision of the tools for making goods and providing services is next. What good is the Internet to most Zambians if they have no electricity or access to it much of the time? Zambia could be the next South Korea. Infrastructure investment in order to let Zambia exploit its own resources and get its own goods to market faster is also vital. Roads must be built, fixed and maintained. Housing needs to be better. Skip over the learning done for you by the West and go straight to the latest ways to communicate, move electricity, fuel and indeed build (electric) vehicles to make yourselves an indispensable player in the world. It will take effort but Zambia could become the next China. Learn from these players, don't just take their money for when what you have is no longer useful to them they will abandon you. But if you adapt their skills and their knowledge to your own purposes, they will not dare leave. You will have become too important for them to ever consider doing so. Learn also that your own leaders may be visionary in some respects yet totally blind in others. Chiluba was right in decrying the woes of the one-party state, yet blind to the evils of kakistocracy (rule by thieves). Sata will have strengths and weaknesses. Help him hone his strengths and guide and rebel against him should he favor his weaknesses. Good luck!

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