United National Independence Party

Published 19th August, 2011

The United National Independence Party or (UNIP) dates back to 1958 and, under Kenneth Kaunda, ruled Zambia from 1964 until 1991. Founded originally in 1959 by Mainza Chona who became its first president, on release from prison in 1960 Kenneth Kaunda assumed the leadership.

Between 1973 and 1991 the UNIP ruled in a one party state, but following unrest and an attempted coup multiparty democracy was restored in 1990.

In 1991 the UNIP did badly in the presidential and general elections. Kaunda was soundly defeated, taking just 24.24% of the vote, and the UNIP took just 25 of the 158 seats in the National Assembly. From that point the UNIP has never regained its former glory.

In 1996 the party decided to boycott the elections leading to no representation in parliament. By 2001 the party managed just 13 of the 159 seats in the National Assembly and in 2006 they became part of the United Democratic Alliance with their base being restricted mainly to the Eastern province.

The UNIP describes itself as social democratic or socialist.

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