In Zambia, three men have announced their intention to oppose President Kenneth Kaunda in the coming Presidential elections.
In Zambia, three men have announced their intention to oppose President Kenneth Kaunda in the coming Presidential elections. Former Vice-President Simon Kapwepwe and Harry Nkumbula are both major figures from Zambia's political past, while the third candidate is Mr. Robert Chiluwe, a little known Lusaka businessman. Dr. Kaunda's United National Independence Party (UPIP) is the only legal political party in Zambia, and all candidates for the elections must come from within its ranks. The three opponents satisfy that condition but their backgrounds and policies have provoked a storm in the country's government-owned mass media. Mr. Kapwepwe once headed the United People's Party and Mr. Nkumbula was leader of the African National Congress until both those parties were proscribed in 1972.
SYNOPSIS: Zambian newspapers allege that Messrs. Kapwepwe, Chiluwe and Nkumbula all believe in capitalism, rather than Dr. Kaunda's Zambian humanism, and are agents of Rhodesia and South Africa. Their appearance as opponents led to a demonstration of support for President Kaunda outside the administrative headquarters of Lusaka Province last Monday (7 August) in Lusaka. A crowd gathered to carry messages of endorsement for the President's policies through the centre of the capital of the headquarters of the ruling party.
There have been repeated calls recently for the 54-year-old Zambian leader to be made President for life, but the country's press has carried assurances that Zambia's a democracy in which anyone can challenge Dr. Kaunda. He ran unopposed in the 1972 election, following the declaration of a one-party state and the arrest of Mr. Kapwepwe who was held for 11 months without trial. Both Mr. Kapwepwe and Mr. Nkumbula, though now members of UNIP, have openly attacked the Government's economic policies and favour re-opening the border with Rhodesia.
Zambia - under President Kaunda's rule - is basically socialist with some private enterprise. The economy is currently in a poor condition partly due to low copper prices. Some observers blame the economic crisis on the President's Rhodesia policy which includes allowing the Rhodesian guerrilla war to be waged from Zambian territory.
Next month UNIP members will choose the man to run unopposed in the general election. President Kaunda's opponents are free to lobby the delegates, but not to campaign openly. Central Committee Member Fwanyanga Mulikita reminded the crowds: