Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Zambia Appoints First Woman Vice President
Inonge Wina appointed Vice President.
Updated Jan. 26, 2015 2:24 p.m. ET

KAMPALA, Uganda—Zambia’s newly-elected President Edgar Lungu on Monday appointed the country’s first female vice president and retained the country’s finance minister in a bid to arrest flagging growth in the copper-rich southern African nation.

Inonge Wina, national chairwoman of Mr. Lungu’s Patriotic Front and the former gender minister, assumes the post vacated by Guy Scott, who became Zambia’s acting president in October after the death of President Michael Sata.

In other personnel moves, the new Zambian leader also decided to keep on Alexander Chikwanda as finance minister and Harry Kalaba as the foreign minister to foster economic and foreign policy continuity, the office of the president said.

Mr. Lungu on Sunday narrowly defeated his rival, Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development, winning by about 27,000 votes the right to complete the late Mr. Sata’s term. The next general election is scheduled for September 2016.

His toughest challenge is to revive the economy of Africa’s second-largest copper producer. Zambia’s economic growth last year was estimated at 5.5%, its slowest pace in more than a decade. The slowdown has been blamed on reduced mining output and less domestic investment due to tax disputes.

During his campaign, Mr. Lungu pledged to continue Mr. Sata’s populist policies, such as improving workers’ conditions and supplying cheaper food and fuel to the country’s 15 million people.

But with global copper prices at close to their lowest level in six years and with mining companies such as Barrick Gold Corp. threatening to shut down operations over a new tax regime introduced by the government this month, it won’t be easy for Mr. Lungu to fulfill those campaign promises.

He also faces divisions within his own ruling party.

After he took over as acting president in October, becoming Zambia’s first white head of state, Mr. Scott fired Mr. Lungu from his party post. But riots the capital Lusaka forced Mr. Scott to reinstate him.

Mr. Scott, who was barred under Zambia’s constitution from running for president because his parents weren’t born in the country, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Write to Nicholas Bariyo at

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