Zambia. At the end of October, the country’s 77-year-old President Michael Sata passed away at a hospital in London. According to Countryaah.com, Zambia population in 2020 is estimated at 18,383,966. Sata had been ill for a long time and, according to rumors, had been pronounced dead several times before. In accordance with the country’s constitution, Vice President Guy Scott was temporarily allowed to take over the presidential post. Scott, whose parents were immigrants from Scotland, was not expected to be able to run for office in the extra-ordinary election, which according to the constitution would be held no later than 90 days after the president’s departure.
Just days after the takeover, Scott dismissed Secretary of Defense Edgar Lungu as Secretary General of the Patriotic Front (PF). The decision was due to a power struggle within the party ahead of the upcoming presidential election in January 2015. However, due to widespread protests in the capital Lusaka, Scott chose to reinstate Lungu as the party’s secretary general shortly thereafter.
During the autumn, the government presented a new budget that included, among other things, increased fees for foreign mining companies in the country. Mining industry revenues accounted for 70% of Zambia’s exports and the purpose of the increase was to address the country’s budget deficit.
Earlier in the year, human rights activist Paul Kasonkomona was cleared of charges that he would have argued for gay rights during an ongoing television broadcast in April 2013. Opposition politician Frank Bwalya was also released by court after charges of appearing inappropriate when speaking in a radio interview in derision terms about President Sata.
In August, Sata dismissed the country’s Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba after accusations that he was trying to seize power from the incumbent president, who for long periods stayed away from the public because of his ill health.
Within the country, some thirty native languages are spoken, all of which belong to the bantu languages. English is the official language at the national level, but seven of the native languages - bemba (spoken by 25%), nyanja (12%), tonga (12%), lozi (6%), kaonde (3%), lunda (3 %) and luvale (2%) – recognized as regional official languages.
In Zambia, over 85% of the population is Christian. There are almost 90 different Christian communities (2010). The oldest are the communities established with missionaries in the late 1800s.
The Catholic Church, which began its operations in the country in 1889, is the single largest Christian community with an estimated 35% of its population as members. About 8% of the population belongs to Baptist, Pentecostal and Charismatic communities. Although Zambia, named Northern Rhodesia, was for many years a British colony, only about 2% of the population are members of the Anglican Church’s over 650 parishes.
More than 10% of the population is said to be primarily practitioners of traditional indigenous religion. Almost 2% of the population is said to belong to the Bahai and just over 1% are Muslims. In the country there are small groups of Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Orthodox, Methodists, Presbyterians, Menonites and those belonging to an independent African Zionist church.
According to the 1996 Constitution, Christianity is state religion. The Constitution and other laws guarantee freedom of religion. However, religious political parties are prohibited and religious groups must be registered. Religious groups that are not registered can be fined and their members can be sentenced to prison. Teaching in and about Christianity is compulsory in all public schools through seventh grade. Teaching in other religions, e.g. Islam, not given in public schools but well in private.
The following days are national holidays: Good Friday, Easter Eve, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.