Zambia President Edgar Lungu says he will nominate a female vice presidential running mate for his re-election bid in the August 11 general election. Speaking to women’s groups at a breakfast meeting in the capital, Lusaka, Lungu encouraged women to participate in the country’s governance, including in the upcoming general election.
Lungu said he would continue appointing women to positions of influence in his administration, taking a cue from deceased president Michael Sata. Lungu, a former cabinet minister, was elected in a presidential by-election in the southern African nation after Sata died abroad where he had gone to seek medical treatment.
Prominent members of the ruling Patriotic Front party have been lobbying and jostling to be chosen to partner with Lungu in the upcoming poll.
“[Lungu] said if you are a man and you are thinking that you are going to be my running mate, you will not be, because my running mate is going to be a woman,” said Frank Bwalya, deputy spokesman for the PF.
The president’s pronouncement led local media reports and political commentators to speculate he would retain Vice President Inonge Wina as his running mate for the upcoming elections. Lungu made a surprise choice when he nominated Wina as his running mate, sidelining Guy Scott who was vice president under Sata.
Lungu faces a stiff challenge from Hakainde Hichilema of the main opposition, the United Party for National Development, as well as Nevers Mumba, of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy.