Political temperatures peak in Zambia


Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema

from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
Zambia Bureau
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – POLITICAL temperatures are rising in Zambia ahead of the 2026 elections.

This follows the jailing of a prominent opposition leader and the escalating fallout between former president, Edgar Lungu, and the government of President Hikande Hichilema.

Lusaka Magistrate, Irene Wishimanga, has convicted and imprisoned Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary General, Rapahael Nakacinda.

Nakacinda has been jailed for 18 months on a charge arising from the law of Criminal Defamation of the President.

PF has denounced the law as “repugnant and archaic.”

The former ruling party has accused ex-opposition leader Hichilema of running a dictatorial, autocratic government and rhetoric against members of the opposition.

“This demonstrates that institutions under him will act against those he determines to be his political opponents and therefore must be arrested, oppressed, threatened, tortured or imprisoned,” Emmanuel Mwamba, PF Chairperson of Information and Publicity, said.

Hichilema and his United Party for National Development (UPND) have been in power since 2021.

PF said Nakacinda would appeal his sentence.

“To our members, we urge you to remain resolute, to be steadfast and to be focused on maintaining unity, comradeship and mobilisation during this period,” Mwamba said.

Lungu, who recently made a political comeback after retiring following his defeat by Hichilema, has escalated his criticism of the government.

The former president has made the most of his weekend church attendances to convey his message.

This has prompted UPND to respond.

“Edgar Lungu is politically dead,” said Romeo Kangombe, UPND Chairperson Mobilisation and Strategy.

He shot down reports Lungu was to be arrested.

“The police should stop giving Edgar unnecessary attention and publicity,” Kangombe said.

“Allow him to move around so that citizens can pay their last respect to his dead political career which will be buried in 2026.”

Kangombe however warned Lungu and others, “To those who want to take advantage of the free political space to cause anarchy, the law will visit you.”

Violence characterised the last elections in the polarized Southern African country of 21 million people.

– CAJ News

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