Zambia's new President, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, 71, will rule for only three years. The next election is already scheduled for 2011. In that brief period, he must convince Zambians that he was the right man to follow the late President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, who died in August after suffering a stroke (AC Vol 49 Nos 18 & 21). Banda's victory on 30 October came after a nail-biting contest.
Once the promoter of Lottie Mwale, Zambia's Commonwealth boxing champion (1974-83), President Rupiah Bwezani Banda rolls with the punches in Southern Africa's difficult politics. In his long career, he has jumped from party activist to ambassador to football, boxing manager to Vice-President and finally after 31 October, elected President. A sports fanatic, Banda was initially better known as Vice-President of Zambia's Football Association than as a politician.
The intolerance is wider, as indicated by calls to oust suspected RDP members from their jobs, in or outside the public sector. During the recent election campaign for the new Omuthiya local authority in the north, Lands and Resettlement Minister Jerry Ekandjo, who doubles as SWAPO Information and Publicity Secretary, called on members to boycott businesses run by RDP members and to get them out of their jobs. He was said to have referred to Hamutenya as 'Satan'.
CONGO-KINSHASA | ANALYSIS
The strategic blunders of both the Kinshasa government and the Kivu rebels leave Congo's government facing military defeat, the rebels facing political isolation and the people of Kivu facing disaster. Moreover, proposals for international intervention seem likely to stiffen the resolve of the rebels and of the embattled Rwandan government, which is their natural ally.
Most of the Kivu belligerents profit, one way or another, from the two provinces' precious reserves of gold, cassiterite and colombo-tantalite (coltan). Gold and coffee smuggling has been going on for years. A British journalist, Nick Gordon, published a book in 1993 entitled 'Murders in the Mist', claiming that the American primatologist Dian Fossey was killed in 1985 because she happened on a gold-smuggling route between Rwanda and Walikale in North Kivu, run by Rwanda's then Hutu rulers. They were also involved in killing the mountain gorillas she studied.