Zambia has new President

Opposition leader Michael Sata is the new President of Zambia

Lusaka (Agenzia Fides) – “The people of Zambia have expressed themselves and we must all listen to them. This is not the moment for violence and revenge. This is is the moment for unity and to build together the future of Zambia.”  Thus, the outgoing President, Rupiah Banda, confirmed the victory of his opponent, Michael Sata, in the presidential elections on 20 September, after the President of the Supreme Court Ernest Sakala had declared Sata as the winner with 1,150,045 votes against 961,796 for his rival.

The votes are refered to the counting suffrage in 95.3% of the colleges.

Because of delays in vote counting operations, there was growing tension between supporters of the two candidates. In the clashes in two mining towns in the center-north of the Country (the so-called “copper belt”), Kitwe and Ndola, two people died. In Lusaka, the capital, traders had closed their shops for fear of new fighting, after the ones that occurred in various slums of the city.

Zambia, one of the most important world producers of copper, has registered in recent years a strong increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but has not resulted in an improvement of living conditions of the population. 64% of the inhabitants of the Country, in fact, live below the poverty line. Social disparities and the role of foreign companies in the national economy have been the focus of the electoral campaign. The outgoing President was accused of being too compliant with the foreign multinationals. Banda, however, replied that he invested the funds generated by the export of copper in the improvement of the country’s infrastructure (roads, airports and hospitals), creating 100,000 new jobs. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 23/09/2011)

 

The new President, aged 74, served in the governments headed by Kenneth Kaunda and the late Frederick Chiluba, in the ministries of Local Government and Health. There are many stories about the new President, but whatever the truth of them, let us pray that President Sata will use the power he now has to lift his fellow-Zambians out of the poverty they live in and use the wealth of the country, especally from mining, to improve health and education for all. May the Lord bless him, and Zambia, as they take a new step into the future.

The Society of African Missions has 16 priests working in the Archdiocese of Luska and the diocese of Ndola. Eleven are from Ireland.

There are also eleven Zambian SMA priests, serving in Zambia and in other parts of Africa. The first ordained, in 2001, was Fr Gustave Mukosha SMA who is now the Deputy Regional Superior for Zambia, based in Mufulira.