Zambia. The nation exploded in wild joy when the Zambia football national team took home the African championship for the first time in February. The copper balls, as the team is called, won after dramatic penalty kicks in the final against big favorite Ivory Coast. The victory gained a deep emotional significance when the match was played in Libreville in Gabon, where a former Zambian national team in 1993 had been wiped out in a plane crash.
In March, a registration authority announced that the former government party and then largest opposition party Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) had been dissolved. The reason was that no organizational fee would have been paid in 20 years. The decision was seen as an attempt to reach the opposition. It was appealed and later rescinded by the Supreme Court.
The Lozi people’s kingdom of Barotseland declared in March that they demanded independence from Zambia as the government had long signed an agreement on autonomy. The declaration was referred to by the Zambian government as treason, and the leader of the Barotsland National Council chose to go underground.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Zambia. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
In June, Svenska Sida decided to resume its assistance to Zambia’s Ministry of Health after Sweden received SEK 6.7 million as senior officials in the Ministry embezzled by aid funds. The new aid was intended to reduce child and maternal mortality in Zambia.
Enraged workers attacked and killed a Chinese chief in August at a coal mine in southern Zambia. It was a protest against low wages that degenerated. China has invested large sums in the mining industry, which accounts for the bulk of Zambia’s exports. According to Human Rights Watch, safety and the working environment are worse at the Chinese mines than at other foreign-owned mines in the country.
At the beginning of the year, Zambia’s Minister of Information made a prominent bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge in the Zambezi River. He wanted to prove to tourists that the jump was safe. The reason was that a young Australian has fallen straight into the crocodile-rich water since her line went off. The woman described her survival as a miracle after she was forced to swim with bound feet to the Zimbabwe side of the river and dive to pull off the rope that got stuck under the water.
UNIP boycotted elections in 1996; Chiluba was re-elected but after low turnout. At the 2001 elections, MMD’s candidate Levy Mwanawasa was elected by a hardly majority to the president. Fears that Mwanawasa would go in his representative’s leash proved unfounded; In a campaign against the corruption within the state administration, Chiluba was prosecuted but eventually acquitted Chiluba of bribery and corruption. A commission was set up to review the constitution, a work that did not result in any changes, despite proposals for such.
Mwanawasa also won in the 2006 elections, but died two years later, and was succeeded by its Vice President Rupiah Banda, who defeated Michael Sata by a marginal margin. The latter got revenge in 2011 when he won the presidential election by a good margin. In 2014, it became increasingly clear that Sata suffered from serious health problems and he died in October of that year. He was temporarily replaced at the post by Vice President Guy Scott, who thus became the first white African head of state since the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa in 1994.
After a fierce power struggle within the ruling party Patriotic Front (PF), which was finally decided in the Supreme Court, Edgar Lungu, Justice and Defense Minister, was named party candidate in the presidential election held in January 2015. Scott was barred from running for office because of his parents were born abroad. Lungu won by a slight margin in an election in which only 32 percent of the eligible voters participated. He was re-elected in 2016 with 50.35 percent of the vote against 47.6 percent for Hakainde Hichilema, who finished second in 2015 as well.
Corruption in the country has remained an important issue, and in 2009 Swedish aid was frozen after reports that several million Swedish kronor had been embezzled. However, the most controversial issue is the Chinese influence in the country. China has long pumped money into Zambia’s economy in the form of aid and large investments in the mining industry in particular. Violent protests against working conditions in Chinese companies are not uncommon. The perception that the country’s assets are being sold out, while two thirds of the population still lives in extreme poverty, has been fanned by, among others, former President Michael Sata. However, after the 2011 election victory, he said that Chinese companies are still welcome as long as they follow Zambian laws.
According to countryaah, the population of Zambia in 2012 was 15,879,250, ranking number 69 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.140% yearly, and the population density was 21.3607 people per km2.