Zambia's ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) has received 13 applications from its members wishing to be adopted as the party's republican presidential candidate in the forthcoming by-elections, Zambia Daily Mail reported.
MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba could not disclose the names of the applicants because he still needed to present them to the National Executive Committee (NEC) for ratification, according to the report.
But reliable sources said that the 13 applicants are Maxwell Mwamba, Pastor Nyirongo, former republican vice-president Enoch Kavindele, Acting President Rupiah Banda, former republican vice-president Nevers Mumba, Minister of Home Affairs Ronnie Shikapwasha, MMD chairperson for commerce and Trade Sebastian Kopulande, Minister of Finance and National Planning Ng'andu Magande, Charles Ngesa, Billy Phiri, Martin Chama, former Constitution Review Commission (CRC) chairperson Wila Mung'omba and former minister of works and supply Ludwig Sondashi, according to the report.
Kalumba said he had opened the door to allow all members who had dreams and aspirations to be considered as presidential candidates.
He said the list of the candidates would then be taken to the NEC to determine their eligibility.
Kalumba said, according to the MMD constitution, every member had the right to apply for a position in the party but that such a member should have served three consecutive years.
He said the secretariat would scrutinize the eligibility criteria to ensure that the candidate was an MMD member who could prove this through their renewal of the party card.
Kalumba said the second criterion would be to ensure that the presidential candidate qualified under the republican constitution because there were provisions like the parentage clause in the constitution that imposed limitations.
He said he was however disappointed that no female candidate had applied to be adopted as a presidential candidate.
"That is a big blow to our declared ambition to support female candidates," Kalumba was quoted as saying.
Zambia's presidential by-election will be held within 90 days from the death of President Levy Mwanawasa on Aug.19 in France, according to Zambia's constitution.
Mwanawasa had battled poor health for many years before he suffered a stroke in late June in Egypt, where he was to attend an African Union summit.
He was initially treated in Egypt and later flown to France.
In April 2006, he suffered a minor stroke four months before the general elections, in which he won his second presidential term.