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By Nasreen Seria

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Zambian President Rupiah Banda dropped Finance Minister Ngandu Magande from his cabinet, replacing him with Situmbeko Musokotwane, a presidential adviser for economic affairs.

Banda also named former Justice Minister George Kunda as his deputy in changed cabinet, government spokesman John Musukuma said in a telephone interview from the capital Lusaka today.

Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane (Finance Minister)       Justice George Kunda (Vice President)

Mines Minister Kalombo Mwansa will head up the Home Affairs Ministry and is replaced by his deputy Maxwell Mwale, Musukuma added.

Magande, 61, has been finance minister since 2003 and helped steer the economy to growth of more than 5 percent in the past five years as Africa’s biggest copper producer benefited from surging commodity prices. He also helped negotiate a debt write- off with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other lenders in 2006. Magande challenged Banda for the top position in the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy in August following the death of President Levy Mwanawasa.

Banda, 71, won an Oct. 30 presidential election, defeating opposition leader Michael Sata by a slim margin, sparking accusations by Sata’s Patriotic Front that the elections were rigged to favor the ruling party candidate. Sata today launched a court bid to have the votes recounted, Reuters reported, citing the opposition leader’s lawyer.

To contact the reporters on this story: Nasreen Seria in Johannesburg