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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Zambia's ruling party campaign in disarray
President Frederick Chiluba (left) with former National Secretary of MMD, Michael Sata
The good old days: Chiluba with Sata (right) (Pic: Post of Zambia)
Zambia's ruling party has been thrown into even more disarray as President Frederick Chiluba prepares to formally introduce its presidential candidate to the electorate and launch his campaign.


Sata will break the MMD. He did the same in 1991 when he resigned from UNIP

Political science lecturer
Michael Sata, who resigned as National Secretary for the Movement for Multi-party Democracy on Tuesday, has announced that he will seek endorsement as the party's candidate in elections due later this year.

Mr Chiluba last month announced that Levy Mwanawasa would be the MMD's candidate after his bid to stand for an unconstitutional third term as president was widely opposed.

In May, over 80 senior MMD officials, led by Vice-President Christon Tembo, left the party and formed the Forum for Democracy and Development, which has already won two parliamentary by-elections.

Date announced

Correspondents say that Mr Chiluba might announce the date for parliamentary and presidential elections at a rally in the copperbelt town of Kitwe on Saturday.

Mr Sata wanted the MMD's nomination when Mr Chiluba said he would not be standing but he lost out to Mr Mwanawasa.

Frederick Chiluba
Chiluba's bid to stand again met with widespread opposition

"The process that resulted in Mwanawasa's candidature was fraudulent and did not conform to existing provisions of the party," said Mr Sata.

He told the BBC's Network Africa: "I'm not going to wait until I die and then become president posthumously."

Mr Sata, who quit his post of minister without portfolio last week said that he would seek the endorsement of the MMD's national convention, which could be summoned if three of the party's nine provincial branches support his bid.

Possible suspension

The 63-year-old veteran politician said that 10,000 party members were behind him.

But senior MMD officials are already warning that he could be suspended if he fails to back the official candidate.

Political analysts say that Mr Sata's move will cause further division in the party.

"Sata will break the MMD. He did the same in 1991 when he resigned from UNIP," said a political science lecturer at the University of Zambia, referring to the former ruling United National Independence Party.

In 1991, Mr Sata helped Mr Chiluba defeat UNIP's Kenneth Kaunda who had ruled Zambia since independence in 1964.

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 ON THIS STORY
Michael Sata
"Politics is all about power-hungry"
See also:

05 May 01 | Africa
Zambian protests turn violent
31 Aug 01 | Africa
Profile: Zambia's Mr 'Integrity'
04 May 01 | Africa
Chiluba: 'I won't stand again'
17 Aug 00 | Africa
Zambia's stylish president
21 Apr 01 | Africa
Ministers tell Chiluba: Time's up
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Zambia
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