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History, Independence

Zambian constitution, Frederick Chiluba, UNIP, Chiluba, autocratic rule

The federation was dissolved at the end of 1963. Nyasaland became independent as Malawi in July 1964, and Northern Rhodesia as Zambia in October 1964. Southern Rhodesia changed its name to Rhodesia. Kaunda’s party, the United National Independence Party (UNIP), won the first and all subsequent elections until the early 1990s. In 1972 Zambia became a one-party state, but its leadership remained moderate and pro-Western. Private land was nationalized in 1975 as part of an unsuccessful agricultural improvement program. The completion of the rail link to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1976, freed Zambia from its dependence on the Rhodesian- and South African-controlled railway for the transport of its copper.

President Kaunda opposed the white-dominated regime in Rhodesia, and his assistance to guerrilla insurgents proved crucial to the establishment of a black majority government there in 1980. Although Kaunda was reelected to a sixth presidential term in 1988, popular discontent with Zambia’s stagnant economy and his autocratic rule continued to grow. In 1990 food riots and an abortive coup shook the government, and the aging leader agreed to allow multiparty voting. The opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) won the 1991 general election, and its presidential candidate, Frederick Chiluba, defeated Kaunda by a wide margin.

In May 1996 Chiluba’s government amended the Zambian constitution, introducing a controversial provision that required presidential candidates to be from families established in Zambia for at least two generations. The amended constitution also prevented presidents from serving more than two terms. Kaunda, whose parents were immigrants from Malawi, was therefore disqualified on both accounts. In response, the UNIP, under Kaunda’s leadership, boycotted the November 1996 elections. Chiluba was elected to a second term.

In December 2001 elections, MMD presidential candidate Levy Mwanawasa received more votes than any of the 11 opposition candidates. He therefore succeeded Chiluba as president in January 2002, despite having received only 29 percent of the popular vote.



Article key phrases:

Zambian constitution, Frederick Chiluba, UNIP, Chiluba, autocratic rule, amended constitution, presidential term, Northern Rhodesia, popular vote, Nyasaland, presidential candidates, Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesian, Rhodesia, rail link, presidential candidate, Dar es Salaam, general election, elections, presidents, immigrants, Malawi, Tanzania, wide margin, generations, copper, federation, establishment, Private land, accounts, percent, leadership, parents, families, transport, votes, completion, assistance, response, terms, MMD

 
 

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