countryaah, the nation exploded in wild joy when the Zambia
football national team took home the African championship
for the first time in February. The copper balls, as the
team is called, won after dramatic penalty kicks in the
final against big favorite Ivory Coast. The victory gained a
deep emotional significance when the match was played in
Libreville in Gabon, where a former Zambian national team in
1993 had been wiped out in a plane crash.
In March, a registration authority announced that the
former government party and then largest opposition party
Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) had been dissolved.
The reason was that no organizational fee would have been
paid in 20 years. The decision was seen as an attempt to
reach the opposition. It was appealed and later rescinded by
the Supreme Court.
The Lozi people's kingdom of Barotseland declared in
March that they demanded independence from Zambia as the
government had long signed an agreement on autonomy. The
declaration was referred to by the Zambian government as
treason, and the leader of the Barotsland National Council
chose to go underground.
In June, Svenska Sida decided to resume its assistance to
Zambia's Ministry of Health after Sweden received SEK 6.7
million as senior officials in the Ministry embezzled by aid
funds. The new aid was intended to reduce child and maternal
mortality in Zambia.
Enraged workers attacked and killed a Chinese chief in
August at a coal mine in southern Zambia. It was a protest
against low wages that degenerated. China has invested large
sums in the mining industry, which accounts for the bulk of
Zambia's exports. According to Human Rights Watch, safety
and the working environment are worse at the Chinese mines
than at other foreign-owned mines in the country.
At the beginning of the year, Zambia's Minister of
Information made a prominent bungee jump from the Victoria
Falls Bridge in the Zambezi River. He wanted to prove to
tourists that the jump was safe. The reason was that a young
Australian has fallen straight into the crocodile-rich water
since her line went off. The woman described her survival as
a miracle after she was forced to swim with bound feet to
the Zimbabwe side of the river and dive to pull off the rope
that got stuck under the water.