Zambia's dual nationality law traps its architect

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- In the wake of allegations tracing his paternal origins to neighbouring Malawi, former Zambian vice president Christon Tembo, who was Sunday elected chairman of the opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), may be barred from contesting the forthcoming presidential elections.
Whereas Tembo's father is alleged to have come from Malawi, the Zambian Constitution as amended in 1996 provides that only candidates with both parents born in Zambia are eligible for the country's presidency.
Following that constitutional amendment - to which Tembo was party - former president Kenneth Kaunda was barred from contesting the presidency in 1996 because his parents originated from Malawi.
Reacting to Tembo's election on Sunday as FDD chair, Vice President Enock Kavindele affirmed that government had irrefutable evidence that Tembo's father, who was a teacher in Kitwe for many years, actually hailed from Malawi.
"Ironically, this same law was presented to Parliament by Tembo when he was leader of the House," Kavindele recalled, adding "I personally objected to it but Tembo as leader of the House managed to pass it.
" But FDD publicity and information secretary Fisho Mwale questioned the motives behind the allegations, noting that Tembo had held several government portfolios in both Kaunda's and Chiluba's governments, with his nationality at no time proving a hindrance.
"General Tembo is very solid and we are forming the next government," Mwale insisted Monday.
Tembo was elected Sunday as chairman of the FDD at the party's on-going national convention in Lusaka.
He beat three other contestants, including former Legal Affairs minister Vincent Malambo, former independent MP Austin Chewe and former Health minister Boniface Kawimbe.

15 october 2001 19:59:00

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