Zambia. In January, presidential elections were arranged
in which the replacement of the deceased Michael Sata in
October would be appointed. The election was preceded by
power struggles and internal strife within the ruling party
Patriotic Front (PF). Edgar Lungu, the party's secretary
general and the country's Justice and Defense Minister, had
the backing of one phalanx, and Sata's nephew Miles Sampa by
another. The latter also had Guy Scott, the vice president
who stepped in as interim president after Sata's death, on
his side. In the end, a ruling was required in the Supreme
Court before it became clear that Lungu would be the party's
COUNTRYAAH, the election itself became a very even fight between Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema, who was running for
Parliament's largest opposition party, the United National
Development Party (UPND). The former received 48% of the
vote against 47% for Hichilema, a difference corresponding
to just under 28,000 votes. The turnout was very low; only
32% of voters participated. Lungu took office at the end of
January and will hold office until the regular presidential
elections are held in September 2016. He also held the post
of Minister of Defense, but in August appointed Richwell
Siamunene from UPND as his successor in this position.
Already in March, Lungu fired Vice President Guy Scott and
appointed Inonge Wina, who became the first woman in the
post. The same month, Ireen Mambilima was appointed chairman
of the Supreme Court.
In March, fears were raised that Lungu, like Sata, would
be sick. The head of state collapsed during a political
meeting in Lusaka. It turned out that he was suffering from
akalasi, a condition that makes it more difficult for food
to pass through the lower part of the esophagus. Lungu was
operated the same month in South Africa.
In June, Rupiah Banda, President 2008-11, was released
from charges of bribery in connection with an oil deal with
Nigeria. That same month, Zambia, along with 26 other
countries, signed the Tripartite Free Trade Area Free Trade
Agreement. However, the agreement must be approved by the
parliaments of the countries before it can enter into force.
The agreement covers countries from Egypt in the north to
South Africa in the south.