A Flash of Democracy – Elections in Zambia : By Jody Harris
Zambia, officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, located in the south-central part of the country. The population is concentrated mainly around the capital Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt to the northwest.
Originally inhabited by Khoisan peoples, the region of what is now Zambia was reached by the Bantu expansion by ca. the 12th century. After visits byEuropean explorers starting in the 18th century, Zambia became the British colony of Northern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century. For most of the colonial period, the country was governed by an administration appointed from London with the advice of the British South Africa Company.
On 24 October 1964, the country declared independence from the United Kingdom and prime minister Kenneth Kaunda became the first head of state. Zambia was governed by Kenneth Kaunda of the socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) from 1964 until 1991. From 1972 to 1991 Zambia was a one-party state with UNIP the sole legal political party. From 1991 to 2002, Zambia was governed by president Frederick Chiluba of the social-democraticMovement for Multi-Party Democracy during which the country saw a rise in social-economic growth and increased decentralisation of government. Levy Mwanawasa was the third President of Zambia. He presided over the country from January 2002 until his death in August 2008. He is credited with having initiated a campaign to rid the country of corruption, and increasing standards of living from the levels left by Frederick T.J. Chiluba. Rupiah Banda became president in 2008. Michael Sata defeated Banda’s re-election bid in 2011 and was set to become president in 2012.
The World Bank in 2010 named Zambia as one of the world’s fastest economically reforming countries. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has its headquarters in the capital Lusaka.