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Opponents say Zambian president can't run

Aug. 5, 2011 at 1:43 PM

LUSAKA, Zambia, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Zambian President Rupiah Banda is not eligible to serve because his father was born in an area now in Malawi, an opposition party says.

Banda and the ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy say his father was a Zambian citizen, born in Chipata, the BBC reported. According to the Zambian Constitution, only people with both parents born in the country can serve as president.

Chembe Nyangu, deputy national secretary of the MMD, said the Patriotic Front has tried to made Banda's father an issue because the party knows it will be defeated in the Sept. 20 election. The PF says Banda's father was born in the region then known as Nyasaland, a British protectorate that became the Republic of Malawi in 1964.

"In 2008, they could have blocked the president from standing but they did not. Why have they waited for three years? They know the MMD will win hands down," Nyangu said.

The constitution was amended in 1996 to make the president's parents an issue. At the time, the BBC said, President Frederick Chiluba was believed to be trying to keep former President Kenneth Kaunda from running against him.

Kaunda was declared stateless but the Supreme Court reversed that decision. Chiluba was also accused of having foreign-born parents.

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