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Zambia Opposition Leader Denies Outside Funding Allegations

  • Peter Clottey

The leader of Zambia’s main opposition Patriotic Front (PF) is denying accusations that his party is funded by the Netherlands ahead of next year’s general elections.

Michael Sata said it was a shame and disingenuous for President Rupiah Banda and his ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) to accuse a sovereign country with no shred of evidence.

Zambia's President Rupiah Banda

Zambia's President Rupiah Banda

“It’s most unfortunate, uncalled for and unwarranted for a ruling party to accuse another state of funding us, because by accusing the Netherlands government of funding us, there is something behind it. Because we are members of the Zambia Inter-Party Dialogue, which is being sponsored and we are very grateful by the Netherlands government,” he said.

The national secretary of the ruling MMD, Katela Kalumba reportedly said the Netherlands’ Institute for Multiparty Democracy has “special” funding that supports the activities of Michael Sata’s main opposition Patriotic Front Party.

But officials of the Netherlands embassy in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka denied the accusations saying its agency funds all political parties in parliament.

Opposition leader Sata said the ruling party’s accusations are baseless.

“There is nothing, there is no iota of truth for Rupiah Banda the president to come out in the open and say he has been informed. How can a president survive on rumors? Because when they are pointing a finger at another sovereign state, they must have evidence,” Sata said.

He said his opposition party is supported and funded by individuals as well as big corporations who believe in the policies, programs, ideals, prospects and “truthfulness” of the Patriotic Front Party.

Sata denied his party is funded by some international institutions to challenge President Banda’s ruling MMD party in next year’s general elections.

“The answer is I have not been funded. The Dutch government through Zambia’s Inter-Party Dialogue has funded all the political parties in Zambia. They have not singled out PF. The rumor came from a relative of one of the deputy minister’s in government. But we have challenged them to produce evidence,” Sata said.

Sata, a long time opposition leader recently formed an alliance with businessman Hakainda Hichilema, leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) ahead of next year’s general elections.