LUSAKA (AFP) – President Michael Sata Friday dismissed growing opposition concerns that he wants to turn Zambia into a single-party state, amid accusations of a crackdown on his political opponents.
"I want to assure the Zambian people that our government has no intentions whatsoever to turn this country in a one-party-state," Sata said in an address to parliament.
"The government is fully committed to upholding the rule of law including separation of powers."
Since taking office in September 2011, Sata's administration has largely refused the opposition permits to hold public meetings.
It has also launched a raft of corruption cases against former government officials who are now in the opposition.
Sata also said the constitutional reform process launched by his predecessors several years ago was nearing completion.
"The final draft constitution will be ready by the end of this year."
In his inaugural address to parliament in 2011, Sata had vowed to deliver a new, people-driven constitution within three months as part of his drive to weed out corruption and change the way Zambia does business.
Sata vowed to diversify the economy of the copper-rich nation, investing in agriculture and tourism.