after burying their late President Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia’s ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) has adopted
acting President Rupiah Banda as its candidate for the forthcoming election for
Mr. Mwanawasa’s successor. Banda will now face
Michael Sata, leader of the opposition Patriotic Front.
“Electing a leader who
will promote peace and stability as well as enhance economic development” are
the words of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
So is the adoption
of Mr. Banda as candidate to succeed Mr. Mwanawasa a step in the right
Simutanyi, Executive Director for Policy Dialogue in Lusaka, Zambia says
choosing Banda was significant as it emphasizes unity in the ruling party.
was not much division within the ruling MMD. He was, I think, endorsed or
elected unanimously. So the significance of that, is that, there will be unity
around the candidate,” Simunyani said.
has promised to continue where the late Mwanawasa left off. But Simutanyi says
Banda now faces tremendous pressure from the public not to pass an unpopular
bill proposing very high salary increases for members of the cabinet.
“ Now that he’s acting President, the country
is waiting to see whether he will actually sign the bill into law and it looks
like there’s a lot of pressure on him not to do so…”