LUSAKA (Reuters) - A Zambian court on Tuesday cleared President Rupiah Banda to take part in next month’s elections after the main opposition party sought to have him blocked on grounds that he does not qualify to stand.
Zambia’s main opposition Patriotic Front (PF) party had asked the high court to block Banda from taking part in the elections, saying his father was not Zambian.
Zambia’s constitution requires both parents of a presidential candidate to be Zambian by birth. The PF said Banda’s father was born in what is now Malawi.
“The court has dismissed the case and my candidate will file the nomination papers tomorrow,” the national secretary of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) party Richard Kachingwe said after the ruling.
“My president qualifies. He is a bonafide Zambian. His parents are Zambian. The court action was malicious,” Kachingwe told journalists.
The PF had said Banda’s nomination papers were only accepted as valid in 2008 because he said that his father and mother were born in Chipata in eastern Zambia.
Banda dissolved parliament last month and set September 20 as the date for elections that are likely to hand him and his MMD party another five years in power in Africa’s biggest copper producer.