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Zambian leader's origins taken to court

(Xinhua)

14:22, August 05, 2011

Zambia's main opposition political party has taken the issue of President Rupiah Banda's origins to court, contending that he is not supposed to stand a presidential candidate in this year's general elections because his parents are not Zambians, the Post of Zambia reported on Thursday.

According to the Zambian constitution, a person whose parents were not born in Zambia is not eligible to stand for presidency. The opposition has claimed that Banda's mother was from Zimbabwe.

Wynter Kabimba, the secretary general of the Patriotic Front (PF) on behalf of his party, has sued the country's Attorney- General, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the national secretary of the governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Richard Kachingwe, claiming that the governing party cannot by law sponsor the Zambian leader because his parents are not Zambian citizens, according to the Post.

The opposition party is also seeking an interim order of injunction to restrain the governing party from sponsoring Banda as its presidential candidate and that the electoral body should not accept the Zambian leader's nomination papers ahead of the September 20 general elections.

According to the paper, the opposition party also wants an order of disclosure of documents against the Attorney-General in respect of the director general of births, deaths and marriages and the chief passport officer in respect of birth or national registration card and passport records of the Zambian leader.

The Zambian leader has already declared that he is not bothered by attempts by the opposition party to question his origins and wondered why the issue is coming up now.

Banda said this week that he was surprised that the nationality of his parents has become an issue now when he has previously served in various high positions both in and outside the government.

On the other hand, the governing has said it will not be derailed by attempts by the opposition leader to petition his parentage.

Banda is expected to stand as a president candidate on the governing party during the September 20 election. Banda first became president in 2008 following the death of president Levy Mwanawasa.

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