- Title: ZAMBIA: Rupiah Banda sworn in as Zambia's President despite dispute
- Date: 3rd November 2008
- Summary: BANDA ON PODIUM WATCHING MILITARY HONOURS
- Embargoed: 18th November 2008 12:00
- Location: Zambia
- Country: Zambia
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA1K21UI1T0PS0H2JIFFJE0KXYH
- Story Text: New Zambian president Rupiah Banda promises to fight poverty at inauguration.
Rupiah Banda, a pro-business centrist, was sworn in as Zambia's president on Sunday (October 2) after a narrow election win, but the main opposition party said it would challenge the result in court.
Banda's victory, if allowed to stand, will be welcomed by foreign lenders and investors, who praise his government's conservative fiscal policies.
Zambia's economy has grown an average five percent per year since 2002, buoyed by a mining boom.
He had campaigned as the heir to late President Levy Mwanawasa, who died from a stroke in August, and pledged to make no dramatic policy changes if elected in Thursday's poll.
In his inauguration speech the new president said his main goal will be fighting poverty which is "demeaning and an unnecessary evil."
He didn't want people to think of Zambia as a third world country with a begging bowl "because we are not."
"We have a goal of making Zambia a middle-class, middle-income nation by 2030," he added, promising to make Zambia an attractive destination for business.
Opposition leader Michael Sata also promised to pursue a pro-growth agenda but concerns lingered about the strident anti-investment tone of his last campaign for the presidency in 2006.
Banda will face pressure to do more to reduce poverty and improve government services, especially in rural areas that have failed to benefit from the economic boom.
Banda won 40 percent of the 1.79 million votes cast versus 38 percent for Sata, the leader of the Patriotic Front, according to final results released by Zambia's electoral commission.
The margin of victory was 35,209 votes.
Sata and the Front branded the election a fraud and said it would contest the result.
Banda, who was named acting president shortly after Mwanawasa's death, took the oath of office at a hastily arranged ceremony in Lusaka. Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and South Africa's Kgalema Mothlante were amongst those that attended the ceremony.
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