February 14, 2018 / 8:26 PM / 7 months ago

Zambia's President Lungu appoints new finance, mining ministers

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambian president Edgar Lungu appointed new finance and mining ministers in a reshuffle on Wednesday that included changes in numerous other departments as well.

FILE PHOTO: Zambian President Edgar Lungu reacts after participating in a discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 meeting in Durban, South Africa May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Margaret Mwanakatwe was appointed finance minister while Richard Musukwa was named minister of mining, the government said in a statement. Government was not immediately available to comment on the reasons for the cabinet changes.

The southern African nation has been in turmoil since Lungu defied resistance from inside the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and indicated that he plans to run for re-election in 2021.

Zambia’s constitution limits presidents to two terms but Lungu argues that his first period as leader doesn’t count because he did not serve a full term after he assumed power following the death of predecessor Michael Sata in 2014.

Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba, seen as a potential PF candidate in a 2021 presidential election, resigned in January.

The opposition have also accused Lungu of intimidation after he invoked emergency powers in July last year to deal with “acts of sabotage” by his political opponents.

The period saw main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema arrested at his home for plotting to overthrow the government. The government subsequently dropped the charges.

Reporting by Chris Mfula,; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Hugh Lawson

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