Ex-Zambia president reportedly under house arrest


Former Zambian President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
Zambia Bureau
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – TEMPERS are flaring in Zambia following the alleged house arrest of the former president, Edgar Lungu, over his calls for early elections in the increasingly volatile country.

Lungu, defeated by current leader, Haikande Hichilema, in 2021, has also alleged a ploy by police “to ambush him at night” following his sentiments made during a recent church service.

Police disrupted the prayer meeting, much to the anger of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), which has raised the issue with the government.

Lungu has repeated his calls again this week, arguing the economic crisis and increasing high cost of living that he alleges have continued to impact on people throughout Hakainde’s “clear-cut misrule.”

“Many Zambians and non alike feel this way and agree with me that, indeed, the UPND regime has failed to deliver on their promises and govern in nonstop pilot mode,” Lungu said.

UPND is the United Party for National Development, which defeated Lungu and his Patriotic Front (PF) in the last election.

“I appeal to the Zambian government to respect the people, practice political tolerance, uphold the constitution, and ensure that peace, law and order prevails across our sovereign motherland,” Lungu said.

He has been quoted in some media alleging he was under house arrest.

However, police have reacted strongly to the allegations.

“We categorically state that these allegations are unfounded and false,” said Graphel Musamba, Inspector General of Police.

Lungu and Hichilema’s government have fallen out in recent months, such that he has come out of retirement and is the likeliest candidate of the PF in the 2026 elections.

This has cost him benefits entitled to former presidents but police said they remained committed to his security. His wife is also in trouble with the law on allegedly trumped-up charges of vehicle and title deeds theft.

“The Zambia Police Service remains committed to its duty to protect and serve the public impartially and professionally,” Musamba said.

The ruling party has responded, stating, “UPND will not fall for Edgar Lungu’s political stunts and gymnastics.”

“If he thinks he can ride on the high cost of living to cause anarchy in the country, he will be bruised,” warned Romeo Kangombe, UPND Deputy Chairperson: Mobilisation and Strategy.

“Whatever confusion that he is planning will end at his doorstep. Some of us are just restrained by President Hichilema but we are ready to meet the serpent head-on,” Kangombe charged.

He warned Lungu and “a bunch of clowns surrounding him” that UPND would not allow anarchy.

“President Hichilema must not be distracted by the serpent tactics. He must focus on developing the country.”

UPND accuses Lungu of double standards, arguing his government from 2015 was violating human rights.

However, critics of the new government accuse it of using laws by previous administrations to stifle liberties.

Recently, Zambia sentenced PF Secretary-General, Raphael Nakacinda, to 18 months in jail for “defaming” the president.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has demanded his release.

“Sending a leading opposition figure to prison under a law that previous administrations have notoriously used to silence critics is a blot on President Hichilema’s record,” said Idriss Ali Nassah, senior Africa researcher at HRW.

– CAJ News

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