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July 5, 2008

Wikipedia: Rupiah Banda

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Rupiah Bwezani Banda
Rupiah Banda

President of Zambia
Acting
Incumbent
Assumed office
29 June 2008
Preceded by Levy Mwanawasa

Born 1937
Gwanda, Zimbabwe
Political party UNIP

Rupiah Bwezani Banda (born 1937) is a Zambian politician who has served as the Vice-President of Zambia since his appointment by Levy Mwanawasa in October 2006, following the latter’s re-election.[1] He is currently acting President due to Mwanawasa’s incapacitation by a stroke.[2]

Banda was born in Gwanda, Zimbabwe. He was the United National Independence Party (UNIP)’s representative in Northern Europe in the early 1960s,[3] and in 1965 he was appointed as Zambia’s Ambassador to Egypt (the United Arab Republic). While there, he became friends with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, and his influence has been attributed to the decision to allow UNITA to open offices in Lusaka at this time.[4] Banda became Ambassador to the United States on April 7, 1967.[5] He served as Ambassador to the U.S. for about two years, then returned to Zambia to serve as Chief Executive of the Rural Development Corporation for about two years and subsequently General Manager of the National Agriculture Marketing Board for a similar length of time. He was then appointed Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and while in this position he also headed the U.N. Council for Namibia. After about a year at the U.N., he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs,[3] serving from 1975 to 1976.[citation needed]

Banda was elected as a Member of Parliament from Munali Constituency in 1978. He held the seat in 1983; although he was defeated in the 1988 election, he took the issue to court. He also served for a time as Minister of Mines.[3]

In 1991, he was defeated in Munali Constituency by the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) candidate Ronald Penza. Although he initially intended to run again for the seat in the 1996 election, he supported the UNIP’s boycott of the election.[3]

After President Mwanawasa was re-elected in September 2006, he appointed Banda as Vice-President on October 9, 2006 along with a new cabinet. Banda’s appointment was widely viewed as a means of rewarding eastern Zambians for supporting the MMD in the election, as this was the first time that easterners had done so.[1]

Prior to a planned summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in August 2007, Banda was sent by Mwanawasa to improve relations with neighboring Zimbabwe following Mwanawasa’s criticism of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.[6]

After Mwanawasa suffered a stroke while at an African Union summit in Egypt on June 29, 2008, Banda became acting President.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b Shapi Shacinda, “Mwanawasa warns challenger, names new cabinet”, Reuters (IOL), October 9, 2006.
  2. ^ a b James Butty, “Zambian President Has Had a History of Hypertension, Says Information Minister”, VOA News, July 2, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d “I Am Overwhelmed By the Appointment, Says Banda”, Sunday Post (tmcnet.com), October 10, 2006.
  4. ^ Sellstr̀eom, Tor. Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa, 2002. Page 404.
  5. ^ Diplomatic List, 1967, U.S. Department of State.
  6. ^ “Zambian leader ‘wants to make up with Mugabe'”, AFP (IOL), August 1, 2007.
Political offices
Preceded by
Levy Mwanawasa
President of Zambia
Acting

2008 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
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