2873news catch-up pt 2
- Jan 3, 2002Zambian leader's
Mr Mwanawasa says he is the legitimate leader
By the BBC's Richard Lee in Lusaka
Most leaders enjoy at least a brief honeymoon
period following their election.
But Zambia's new president, Levy Mwanawasa,
will have a battle on his hands from the start.
Opposition parties have
cried foul, alleging
irregularities and fraud.
They have already
taken their complaints
to court in an attempt
to have Mr
Their case was
dismissed but they
have vowed to fight on
with all means at their disposal.
"We will never recognise Mwanawasa's
illegitimate election and will pursue a
multi-pronged legal campaign to have his
victory nullified," said Anderson Mazoka, the
presidential runner-up. "It will be a collective
action by the opposition, although some cases
will be fought on an individual basis."
Divided they fall
The opposition has not yet released much hard
evidence to back up their claims. They stress
that they will produce it later when they return
to the Supreme Court to challenge the results.
According to the constitution, they must file
their petitions within two weeks of the
inauguration making it a difficult first fortnight
in office for President Mwanawasa.
The ruling Movement
Democracy is adamant
that no rigging took
It is true that the
opposition shot itself in
the foot by splitting
the vote between 10
But despite this,
serious questions have
been raised about the credibility of the
election results. Even if the opposition's legal
efforts fail, many people will never view Mr
Mwanawasa as the legitimate president.
Meanwhile, opposition supporters have added
their voices to the campaign and vowed to
take their protests onto the streets.
"We have nothing to eat and no jobs to do,"
said unemployed Lusaka-resident, Patrick
Chisenga. "We all voted for change but they
cheated us and now we have the same people
in charge. We will not allow this rigging to
succeed. We will fight until Mwanawasa and
the MMD go."
Already the police have
demonstrators in Lusaka
and in towns on the
And it is likely that more
demonstrations will be
opposition has called for
peaceful protests but
anger and frustration
could see the situation boil over.
The police have already shown that they are
willing to resort to tear-gas when confronted
by stone-throwing crowds. And Mr
Mwanawasa, himself, has made it perfectly
clear that the full force of the law will be used
against anyone who indulges in violence.
In an attempt to forestall trouble, the
authorities have extended the Christmas
recess at the University of Lusaka indefinitely.
A circular was issued
while Mr Mwanawasa
was being sworn in,
stating that the
university would remain
closed until further
notice because 'the
environment as of now
at the campus is not conducive to academic
Meanwhile, Mr Mwanawasa faces the tricky
task of governing not only with opposition
protests ringing in his ears but also with a far
from convincing mandate.
He was elected on under 29% of the vote and
will, if anything, have only a slim majority in
"We strongly recommend that a presidential
candidate should have to secure at least 51%
of the vote as happened here from 1964 until
1996," said Dr Alfred Chanda, president of the
Foundation for Democratic Process.
"A situation where a
president is elected by
around 30% does not
give credibility to the
office of the republican
Mr Mwanawasa also
has to counter
allegations that he is
merely the puppet of
During his final speech at the inauguration
ceremony, Mr Chiluba stressed that he would
not be pulling any strings behind the scenes
and that Mr Mwanawasa would be very much
"his own man".
Mr Chiluba even announced that he was
considering stepping down from his post as
president of the ruling MMD.
However, many people believe that he will be
the power behind the throne and that Mr
Mwanawasa's victory represents a de facto
third term for Mr Chiluba.
"Levy Mwanawasa is a president of Frederick
Chiluba, by Chiluba, for Chiluba," claimed an
editorial in the private and fiercely
anti-government newspaper, The Post.
All of this will make it more difficult for Mr
Mwanawasa to govern.
So will the fact that many of the ruling party's
most able and experienced politicians have
joined the opposition over the past year.
With his legitimacy questioned and an
inexperienced cabinet, Mr Mwanawasa will
have to try and carry out his campaign
promises to revamp agriculture, boost
employment and reduce poverty.
Zambia's economic and social problems are
Some statistics say that around 80% of the
population now live below the poverty line.
To combat this, Zambia needs a president with
a powerful popular mandate, which is exactly
what Levy Mwanawasa does not have.
If you're interested, BBC has the text of Mwanawasa's inaugural address.
Mugabe supporters on
Supporters of President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe have rampaged through the capital
Harare beating local residents and looting
The violence began on Monday when an
estimated 100 youths descended upon the
townships of Kuwadzana and Mabvuku.
The main opposition
party said the young
people as part of Mr
Police have not
commented on the
The violence came
after the publication on
Monday of the names
of 1,000 people who had been allocated land
to be seized from white farmers.
A local resident in Kuwadzana said the
attackers were supporters of the governing
"I was coming home from town, when I saw
people running, running," the witness told AFP
news agency, fearing to give his name.
"These Zanu-PF people were stealing from the
shops, beating people - even in their houses,"
In a statement, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said: "This group of
about 100 youths was beating up people,
accusing them of being MDC supporters."
"[They were] graduates from the Border Gezi
Training Camp who, being trained ostensibly
under a national youth service training program
... randomly beat up and harassed the
residents of Kuwadzana," before moving on to
the Mabvuku township, said the MDC's national
youth chairman, Nelson Chamisa.
Mr Chamisa said it had
become apparent that
"this so-called national
youth training service
is in fact a Zanu-PF
party service where
the murderous Zanu-PF
is recruiting children to
terrorise their parents".
newspaper, The Herald, said the first 1,000
names were part of a list to be published in full
over the next few days of 100,000 black
Zimbabweans who will benefit from the land
have already been
occupied - some
violently - by
supporters of President
Robert Mugabe in the
reform programme that
is at the heart of the
The 8.5 million
hectares earmarked for
seizure in the run-up to presidential elections
next March make up 95% of the land currently
owned by white Zimbabweans.
Correspondents say Mr Mugabe believes that
seizing land from white farmers is a
vote-winner and he has made the policy a key
part of his campaign for re-election.
SA family mourns truck
By Alastair Leithead in Johannesburg
A memorial service is being held in South Africa
for the 48 people from the same family killed in
a road accident on Sunday.
One hundred and twenty members of the
Chego family were on their way to visit the
graves of their ancestors for an annual new
year reunion, when the truck they were in
Sixty others were injured in the crash. Most
are recovering but two are still in hospital in a
The accident is the worst of many across
South Africa during the festive period.
The extended family members were on their
way to their ancestral burial ground for a
They hope to bury those killed on the same
land, but the owner of the farm has so far
refused to give permission.
The driver of the truck, which careered off a
steep gravel track and overturned twice, has
appeared in court charged with culpable
The investigation into exactly what caused the
crash is continuing.
In the last month more than 750 people were
killed on the country's roads, and with many
holiday makers returning home this weekend,
that figure is expected to increase further.