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Zambia court permits president to run for re-election

A Zambian court on Tuesday ruled that President Rupiah Banda can run for re-election. The country's opposition party, the Patriotic Front (PF) [party website], had alleged that Banda's father was born in Malawi [BBC report], a factor that would prohibit Banda from running for office pursuant to the Zambian Constitution [materials]. A presidential candidate's parents must both be citizens on Zambia by birth. The court dismissed the PF's challenge. Former president and head of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) [party website] party, Frederick Chiluba [BBC profile], introduced the provision prior to his 1996 election.

Banda is not the only Zambian leader to face legal troubles. Chiluba was acquitted [JURIST report] in August 2009 of charges of stealing money from the country's treasury while in office from 1991-2001. In a separate case, Chiluba was ordered by a London court in July 2007 to pay $58 million in fines [JURIST report] to Zambia to compensate for other funds stolen during Chiluba's decade in power. The suit was brought in Britain [BBC report] by Zambian officials because Chiluba and his associates held the assets in the UK and other European countries.

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