Lusaka -

Zambia's populist president portrays himself as a corruption-buster, but critics are raising questions about the appointments he's made, his conduct and the lucrative contracts he has awarded for government work in the year since taking office.

Despite President Michael Sata's promises to be different, it looks like politics as usual in this copper-rich southern African country.

In Zambia and across Africa, multi-party contests and relatively peaceful elections are increasingly the norm. But governance often fails to meet voters' expectations, and entrenched parties can make a mockery of the trappings of democracy.

Politics is often more about personality than policy in this young democracy, with voters offered little more than a choice among strong men. Power has changed hands in Zambia among a clique of politicians who jump from party to party as rivalries and allegiances shift. - Sapa-AP