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Zambian Leader Names Cabinet - 2002-01-07

Zambia's new president, Levy Mwanawasa, named his cabinet Monday and warned he will tolerate no graft in his government.

In his campaign for the presidency, Levy Mwanawasa's motto was "continuity with change." The new cabinet shows evidence of both.

Fewer than half of the ministers who served under former President Frederick Chiluba have kept their jobs. The ones who have, include Vice President Enoch Kavindele, and Information Minister Vernon Mwaanga.

Mr. Mwanawasa chopped the size of the cabinet to 20, eliminating four portfolios. He will take the post of defense minister himself.

A controversial member of the last government, Katele Kalumba, will move from finance minister to minister of foreign affairs. The new finance minister, businessman Emmanuel Kasonde, held the same post in 1991, in Mr. Chiluba's first cabinet.

Mr. Mwanawasa is a lawyer, and several members of his new government also come from the legal profession.

The new Zambian leader warned his cabinet ministers he will tolerate no corruption in their ranks. He demanded honesty and integrity from those who serve in his government.

The new president has tried to distance himself from his unpopular predecessor on certain key issues. He has pledged to eliminate corruption and revitalize Zambia's agricultural sector. But he also vows to continue implementing many of Mr. Chiluba's policies.

Mr. Mwanawasa will be forced to work with a strong opposition presence in parliament. His party narrowly failed to win an outright majority in the National Assembly.

Mr. Mwanawasa won the presidency with less than 30 percent of the vote. Opposition parties claim the election was rigged. But analysts say the opposition's failure to unite behind a single candidate contributed to his victory at the polls.

Regardless, several opposition presidential candidates are challenging the results of the election in court.