Zambian police arrested 19 people after at least one person was killed in a clash between rival factions of the ruling party yesterday, a spokeswoman said.
Police in riot gear used tear gas to contain a group of Patriotic Front supporters wielding machetes. The clashes started along the road to the country’s biggest airport in the capital, Lusaka, and spread to the central business district, police spokeswoman Charity Munganga-Chanda said today by phone from the city.
Tension within the ruling Patriotic Front has increased as party leaders position themselves to succeed President Michael Sata. Defense Minister Geoffrey Mwamba is challenging plans by Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba to take over from the president, according to an Oct. 24 note from Eurasia Group, the Washington-based political risk consultancy.
“We managed to arrest 19 in connection with the confusion,” Munganga-Chanda said. “The case is still under investigation, and we’ll probably pick up some more people in connection.”
Three people were killed in the clashes, the Lusaka-based Post newspaper reported today, citing police and hospital management. The police recorded one death and the number may change as investigations continue, Munganga-Chanda said.
The country’s $750 million Eurobonds due September 2022 dropped for a 12th day, sending yields up seven basis points, or 0.07 percentage point, to 7.32 percent. Zambia’s kwacha weakened to 4 1/2-year low, dropping as much as 0.6 percent before trading 0.4 percent lower at 5.5550 per dollar by 4:27 p.m. in Lusaka.
The currency retreated after Namati Nshinka spokesman for Zambia’s Home Affairs Ministry, confirmed that Kishore Kumar, chief executive officer of Vedanta Resources Plc’s Konkola Copper Mines Plc unit, left the country yesterday. That followed reports on Lusaka-based QFM that Kumar had been deported. A Konkola spokeswoman didn’t answer three calls made to her mobile phone today.
The political violence and reports of deportation “clearly don’t help” the kwacha, Michael Keenan, a currency strategist at Absa Group Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg. “It’s just aggravating” a decline that was sparked by stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data, he said.
All 24 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg retreated against the dollar today except for three, weakening after data yesterday showed the U.S. economy grew more than expected in the second quarter and after a report today showed payrolls last month beat estimates. Of the 24 African currencies monitored, 10 weakened today and eight were unchanged. The kwacha is Africa’s worst performer in the past 30 days after the Gambian dalasi and Malawi’s kwacha.