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Zambia court rejects suspension of opposition party

A Zambian court on Tuesday rejected the application for the de-registration of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) party which had held power for the past 20 years until September of last year. Lusaka High Court Judge Jane Kabuka reasoned [Reuters report] that the application filed by the registrar of societies Clement Andeleki to suspend the entire party was excessive. The suspension came after it was revealed that the party had failed to pay its statutory obligations for the past 20 years amounting to 390 million kwacha (USD $75,000). However, Kabuka stated that a fine would have been sufficient rather than the suspension of the entire party. The MMD, one of the largest and oldest political parties which holds 53 seats of the 150-member parliament [official website], appealed the de-registration decision [BBC report] in March. The MMD lost its power in September to the Patriotic Front (PF) [party website] of President Michael Sata [BBC profile].

Last year a Zambian court ruled [JURIST report] that then-president Rupiah Banda could run for re-election after the PF alleged that the presidential candidate's father was born in Malawi, a factor that would have effectively banned him from running for president. The country's constitution prohibits a candidate from running for president if either one of the candidate's parents is not a Zambian citizen by birth.

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