from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) -THE Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) has condemned the government’s decision to cancel former President Edgar Lungu’s trips to South Africa and South Korea.
These restrictions have heightened political tensions in Zambia.
In South Africa, Lungu was to seek medical treatment, according to his Patriotic Front (PF) party, while in South Korea, he was to attend a peace conference.
No reason was given for the refusal of his trip to South Africa but the government stated the trip to South Korea had been cancelled as the former head of state had not informed the cabinet.
A human rights promoting movement advocating for and promoting the rights and freedoms of all citizens, CiSCA reminded the government of the provisions of Article 11(b) of the Constitution on the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
It provides to the effect that, “It is recognized and declared that every person in Zambia has and shall continue to be entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed, sex or marital status, but subject to the limitations contained in this Part, to each and all of the following, namely:…(b) freedom of conscience, expression, assembly, movement and association…”
Perry Chisamu, Acting CiSCA Chairperson, said in seeking to travel outside the country, Lungu was trying to exercise his right to movement, which is provided for under freedom of movement as enshrined in Article 22.
It guarantees the protection of freedom of movement.
Chisamu said therefore, the statement from the chief government spokesperson, Chushi Kasanda, that the former president was stopped from travelling to South Korea because he did not seek clearance from the Cabinet Office was a clear violation of his constitutional rights.
“The decision by the government to restrict the former Head of State from travelling to South Korea without justifiable reasons is unconstitutional and unacceptable,” Chisamu said.
“It is also a clear contradiction to the trip to South Africa, where there was a letter written for clearance and that was rejected without any reasons being given,” the official added.
Critics accuse current president, Haikande Hichilema, of being dictatorial and using state resources to harass Lungu, who he succeeded in 2021.
– CAJ News