| 23 November 2001
ZAMBIA: Tembo and Mwanawasa in front for presidency
Former vice-presidents Christon Tembo and Levy Mwanawasa have emerged as
frontrunners to succeed Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, who retires at the
end of his final term next month, analysts said on Friday.
While the December election will be the most open contest in Zambia for
nearly four decades, the top two candidates are Chiluba's chosen successor and
his former number two: Mwanawasa, hand-picked candidate of the ruling Movement
for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) party, and Tembo, leader of Zambia's newest and
strongest opposition party, the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD),
stood head and shoulders above their closest rivals, analysts said. Their
competitors were Godfrey Miyanda, another former vice president, and
businessmen Anderson Mazoka and Ben Mwila.
Mwanawasa, a 53-year-old prominent lawyer, held the office of Chiluba's
first vice president. The tough-talking Tembo, 57, a British-trained infantry
commander was also vice president, between 1997 and April this year. Tembo
previously served as Zambia's Armed Forces commander, ambassador to Germany and
foreign affairs minister.
Chiluba dissolved parliament on Thursday, Nov 22, and set December 27 as
the date for polls. He will retire at the end of his second and final five-year
term as president, after a controversial bid to extend his rule failed in
April. The elections for president, parliament and civic posts are the third
since Chiluba ended founding president Kenneth Kaunda's one-party rule in 1991.
Tembo led a stunning cabinet revolt in April against Chiluba's efforts to
extend his rule beyond the constitutional limit of two five-year terms. The
58-year-old Chiluba capitulated, but sacked Tembo and a dozen cabinet ministers
who had refused to back the president. Tembo formed the opposition FDD, which
is poised to give the MMD a stiff challenge at the polls. (The Namibian)