Africa

Zambia's President Rupiah Banda cleared for re-election

President Rupiah Banda (r) waves to supporters at a rally in Lusaka earlier this month Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Banda (r) is confident of victory in next month's poll

A court in Zambia has dismissed an opposition challenge to President Rupiah Banda's re-election bid.

The Patriotic Front (PF) had alleged that Mr Banda's father was born in neighbouring Malawi, which would disqualify him.

Zambia's constitution says both parents of a presidential candidate must be citizens by birth or descent.

One of Mr Banda's allies said he would file his nomination papers for next month's polls on Wednesday.

"The court action was malicious," ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) national secretary Richard Kachingwe told journalists.

MMD officials have previously said the lawsuit had been filed because the PF feared defeat at the polls.

The PF accuses Mr Banda of lying when he said his father was born in Chipata in eastern Zambia, when filing his papers for the 2008 election.

The PF insists that he was born in Nyasaland, today known as Malawi.

Former President Frederick Chiluba, from the MMD, introduced the parentage clause in the constitution before the 1996 election.

It was widely believed to be a ploy to prevent his predecessor, Kenneth Kaunda, from running for office again.

Mr Kaunda's parents were said to be foreigners and the High Court declared the ex-president stateless.

He appealed against the ruling and the Supreme Court restored his citizenship.

Mr Chiluba was also accused of having foreign parents, an allegation he denied strongly.

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