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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Divorce for Zambia's first couple
Mrs Vera Chiluba
Mrs Chiluba found the whole experience humiliating (Pic: Post newspaper of Zambia)
Mrs Vera Chiluba, former wife of the Zambian president, has been speaking about her divorce from her husband of 33 years and signalled her intention to go into politics.

She described her break from Mr Chiluba as shameful and urged women to take part in the elections scheduled for later this year.

A man even when he is king cannot be trusted let alone to run a nation

Mrs Vera Chiluba

The grounds for the divorce are not known even though rumours of a split have been doing the rounds since Mrs Chiluba left State House to live in the family home in Ndola in the copperbelt region.

Until last Friday when a local court in Ndola annulled the marriage, State House refused to deny or confirm the rumours.

Humiliating

Addressing a women's conference at the University of Zambia, Mrs Chiluba challenged women to "take part in the forthcoming election, including me".

President Frederick Chiluba
Men should not be trusted to run countries says Mrs Chiluba

"A man even when he is king cannot be trusted let alone to run a nation", she was quoted as saying in the Post newspaper of Zambia.

The report also said the divorce has been a humiliating experience.

The certificate of annulment was granted in a closed session, by mutual consent from lawyers for both parties.

No property

Sunday Nkonde, President Chiluba's lawyer, said no order was made as to entitlement to property, because the marriage was contracted under customary law.

However, The Post said Mrs Chiluba is expected to take remedial action in the High Court.

A presidential spokesperson said President Chiluba is anxious that the matter does not become a subject of public debate.


President Chiluba is anxious the matter does not become a subject for public debate

Presidential statement

The statement said the President "deeply regrets" the divorce. It said "the decision has been taken after deep and painful reflection."

The spokesperson said it is hoped the "matter is treated with due decorum to enable the President's family come to terms with the new circumstances."

See also:

18 Jul 01 | Africa
Clashes mar Zambian poll
17 Aug 00 | Africa
Zambia's stylish president
15 May 01 | Africa
Chiluba to bow out gracefully
04 May 01 | Africa
Chiluba: 'I won't stand again'
03 May 01 | Africa
Chiluba faces impeachment moves
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Zambia
31 Aug 01 | Africa
Profile: Zambia's Mr 'Integrity'
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