On 24th October 1964, the country became independent of the United Kingdom and then-prime minister, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda became the inaugural president. Dr. Kaunda’s socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) maintained power from the 1964 until 1991.
From 1972 to 1991 Zambia was a single-party state with UNIP as the sole-legal political party, with the goal of uniting the nation under the banner of ‘One Zambia, One Nation’. Dr. Kaunda was succeeded by Dr. Frederick Chiluba of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy in 1991, during which the country saw a rise in social-economic growth and increased decentralisation of government. Dr. Chiluba selected Dr. Levy Mwanawasa as his successor; Dr. Mwanawasa presided over the country from January 2002 until his death in August 2008, and is credited with initiating a campaign to reduce corruption and increase the standard of living.
After Dr. Mwanawasa’s death, Mr. Rupiah Banda presided as Acting President before being elected president in 2008. Patriotic Front party leader, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata defeated Mr. Banda in the 2011 elections. President Sata was inaugurated on 23rd September, 2011 as fifth President of the Republic of Zambia until his death in October 2014. Mr. Sata is credited for initiating a vigorous and ambitious infrastructural development programme across the country.
After Mr. Sata’s death, Dr. Guy Scott presided as Acting President before Zambia’s sixth Republican President, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu was elected in January 2015.
Zambia now has its first female Vice-President following the appointment of Her Honour, Mrs. Inonge Wina, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs is Mr. Harry Kalaba.
Zambia is a unitary republican state with the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary operating as autonomous organs of Government. The Executive is headed by the President of the country, the Legislature by the Speaker of the National Assembly while the Judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice.
The President (who must belong to a registered political party) and members of Parliament (the Legislature) are elected by the people on a five-year term of office. The President appoints his cabinet from among the elected members of Parliament. He also has power to nominate eight members of Parliament, from among whom he can also make appointments into the cabinet or any other position in the Executive wing of Government. The Parliament comprises 150 elected members and up to eight members nominated by the President.
The country’s main political parties include the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), Movement for Multi -party Democracy (MMD), and the United Party for National Development (UPND). Others include Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD), National Restoration Party (NAREP), United National Independence Party (UNIP), Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), Alliance for a Better Zambia (ABZ), National Democratic Focus (NDF) and Zambians For Empowerment and Development (ZED).