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Zambia's controversial opposition leader and presidential candidate Michael Sata/AFP

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Zambia leader warns diplomats on contact with opposition

Zambia's controversial opposition leader and presidential candidate Michael Sata/AFP

Zambia’s controversial opposition leader and presidential candidate Michael Sata/AFP

LUSAKA, Mar 13 – Zambia’s president on Wednesday warned foreign diplomats against engaging with the opposition on governance issues, amid a crackdown on his rivals.

“What I will not accept is you touring provinces and asking the opposition parties about governance issues,” Michael Sata told 14 foreign envoys presenting their credentials in the capital.

“If you want to ask about governance issues come to my office or go to ministry of foreign affairs.”

Among those present were the ambassadors of Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Kenya, Israel, New Zealand and South Korea.

He also told the envoys to focus on doing business with the copper-rich country rather than becoming involved in politics.

“There is more to invest in Zambia and that is what you are here for, Zambia has a lot of resources where you people can come and invest,” he said.

Since winning the election in 2011, critics say Sata has developed an increasingly autocratic leadership style.

Amid a spate of arrests, the opposition has launched a campaign for Zambia to be expelled from the Commonwealth.

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