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Zambia president outlaws opponent's rallies

[JURIST] Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa [official profile] ordered the Zambian Police Service [official website] Wednesday to ban future rallies led by populist opposition politician Michael Sata [party profile], disregarding recommendations by national Solicitor-General Sunday Nkonde. Mwanawasa had ordered police to stop the rallies led by Sata's supporters, but Nkonde overruled the orders [AFP report] and allowed the meetings to occur. Mwanawasa said the rallies incite riots and hatred and accused Sata of treasonous offenses. He went on to ask Nkonde to resign [Times of Zambia report] if he was unhappy with his official orders.

Following his arrest [JURIST report] Tuesday for financial improprieties concerning declared assets on his presidential candidate form, Sata pleaded not guilty [SomaliNet report] Wednesday to charges of false declaration of wealth, which carry a two-year minimum jail term. Sata is a vocal critic of the Mwanawasa, who was elected to a second five-year term as president in September 2006 over Sata, who finished second. In August 2005, Sata was charged with espionage [JURIST report] for his alleged incitement of explosions caused by workers at the Konkola Copper Mines during employment strikes. AFP has more.

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