Zambia's ruling party reconciles, names one presidential candidate
21 December 2014, 08:29
Lusaka - Zambia's Defence Minister Edgar Lungu on Saturday filed nomination papers for presidential elections in January after the ruling party's two feuding factions buried the hatchet and agreed to field a sole candidate.
The copper-rich southern African nation goes to the polls on January 20 to elect a successor to Michael Sata who died in October from an undisclosed ailment.
Zambia's ruling Patriotic Front party has been wracked by infighting since Sata's death. Earlier this month the two camps had nominated rival candidates for the vote.
But on Saturday, Lungu's faction and his rivals led by acting President Guy Scott agreed to field a joint candidate.
Lungu arrived at the Supreme Court to submit his papers along with Scott and thousands of supporters.
"We are going to the election as a united front," Lungu told reporters. "I am ready for the elections."
Scott vowed to fully back Lungu to ensure that the party retains the presidency.
"I am on the campaign trail," said Scott. "We are going to campaign and catch up on the lost time."
Scott is leading the country until the election is held. Because of his Scottish parentage, he is not constitutionally eligible to run for Zambia's presidency.
The end of the factional squabbling means the battle for the presidency is now between Lungu, Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) and evangelist Nevers Mumba of the former governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).