In Zambia, three main opposition parties with representatives in parliament this week announced a grouping known as the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), which they said will soon choose a common presidential candidate for this year’s general elections. Sources say members of the alliance are still working out the details of the merger, with the intention of joining forces with the rest of the Zambian opposition. Anderson Mazoka is a major proponent of the alliance. He told Voice of America reporter Peter Clottey: “This alliance is between the three opposition parties; they are the biggest opposition parties in parliament. And they’ve got together so that they can augment and hopefully win the elections better when we have the next elections.”
Talking about the prospects for the alliance, Mazoka said, “I think they are good; the three parties that have got together, they are suitable to elect; the other small parties will join as well to form a whole group of opposition parties against the government.”
Sources say the alliance could pose a significant threat to the ruling party, led by President Levy Mwanawasa. Freelance journalist Richard Mulonga in the capital, Lusaka, sums up the views of Zambians on the announcement of the alliance by saying many people think the opposition learned a bitter lesson in the 2001 general elections, when the opposition parties ran individually and split the vote, thereby giving an advantage to the ruling party, the MMD. This time around, he said, they think that coming together and running against the MMD as a coalition will be a better strategy.