Ex-Zambian leader quits active politics, as his party is deregistered After a long wait, Zambia's past immediate President, Rupiah Banda has officially stepped down, as leader of the opposition Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) in Africa's biggest copper producer. The announcement barely came hours after the largest opposition party that governed the southern African nation for twenty-years was deregistered by a government wing for failing to pay an outstanding statutory debt of almost 80, 000 dollars it owes the agency. Party Spokesperson, Dora Siliya told a news conference in Lusaka, today that the 75-year-old opposition leader has communicated to the party of his decision to step down. Party Chairperson, Michael Mabenga has since been appointed, as its interim leader. Banda was born on 13 February 1937 in Gwanda, Zimbabwe and in 2008 became Zambia's fourth head of state after founding President Kenneth Kaunda, Frederick Chiluba and the late Mwanawasa. He is however; Zambia's shortest serving President having only served for three-years but made an historic exit through a first ever transfer of power since the dawn of multiparty democracy in 1991. He was selected by Mwanawasa in 2006 as vice president because of his vast political experience. Under Mwanawasa's leadership, Zambia achieved steady growth and won praise from the international community for progressive economic policies and a tough stance against corruption. Apart from the excellent record under Mwanawasa's reign, Banda has his own personal credentials as an economist, a seasoned diplomat, and a veteran politician. Banda's decision has been welcomed by Nevers Mumba, a former televangelist seeking to lead the former ruling party. And on the deregistration, the party has described the decision, an assault on Zambia's democratic credentials. It has since indicated plans to seek legal intervention over the latest development.