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Kaunda faces deportation

Lusaka - Kenneth Kaunda, the former Zambian president, is facing possible deportation after the government said he had ruled the country illegally because he was not a Zambian.

In the latest twist in the increasingly bitter battle between President Frederick Chiluba and the former leader, the Home Affairs Minister, Chitalu Sampa, said Mr Kaunda, 71, ruled Zambia illegally from independence in 1964 until 1970, when he renounced Malawian citizenship. "The government is satisfied the former president is not a Zambian and necessary work is being done to see that the law is applied ... We are still investigating and shall accordingly deal with him just like any other alien," said Mr Sampa.

Mr Kaunda, who is attempting a political comeback, has not spoken on the allegations, nor could he be reached for comment. It is not clear where the government hopes to deport Mr Kaunda, who last month described himself as a "Zambian, pure and simple". Dual citizenship is not allowed but any person born in the country is entitled to citizenship.

A 1964 Independence Order gave non-Zambians one year to apply for citizenship. Zambia's first home affairs minister under Mr Kaunda's government said last month that the former president's delay in renouncing his Malawian citizenship could have been an oversight by his ministry.

Mr Kaunda's bid to return to power in general elections set for October 1996 could also be jeopardised if a draft constitution is approved, barring anyone who is not a Zambian citizen by birth from contesting. It also disqualifies anyone who has already served two five-year terms from seeking re-election.

Mr Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years, 17 of them under a single-party system, until he was ousted in the first multi-party election in 1991. He re-entered politics by winning leadership of the opposition United National Independence Party in July.