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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 14:35 GMT
New leader for Zambia's ruling party
President Levy Mwanawasa
Mwanawasa has consolidated his control on the MMD
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has taken over as leader of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), after former President Frederick Chiluba resigned from the post last week.


There has been divided loyalty

Enoch Kavindele
Vice-President
The MMD's National Executive Committee appointed Mr Mwanawasa as acting head of the party, until a national convention is held within three months.

After 10 years as president, Mr Chiluba failed to muster enough support to contest an unconstitutional third term as head of state.

Mr Mwanawasa was declared the winner of last December's elections but opposition candidates and observers claimed there were irregularities.

Retirement

Mr Chiluba nominated Mr Mwanawasa as his party's candidate and critics said that Mr Chiluba would be the real power behind the throne.

But since the election, the party has been divided behind supporters of the two men and correspondents say Mr Mwanawasa has now consolidated his grip on power.

Frederick Chiluba
Chiluba may get a state pension
"There has been divided loyalty and in the interest of party unity we agreed Mr Mwanawasa should be the one taking over from Dr Chiluba," Vice-President Enoch Kavindele said.

Earlier this month, a judge ordered Mr Chiluba to stop using government-owned facilities and personnel.

He had to give up his Mercedes, a number of other vehicles, the keys to a government-owned house in the fashionable district of Kabulonga and both security guards and domestic staff.

The French news agency, AFP, reported that Mr Chiluba would be eligible for $67,500 worth of retirement benefits if he quitted his party post.

See also:

22 Mar 02 | Africa
Chiluba resigns as party leader
04 Mar 02 | Africa
Chiluba loses retirement benefits
07 Jan 02 | Africa
Familiar look to Zambian cabinet
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