Repression ” brutal “ of any dissenting opinion led by the President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, threatens the conduct of the presidential election in a country where “Human rights are in crisis”, warned the NGO Amnesty International, Monday, June 28. Zambia will vote on August 12 for presidential and legislative elections. At 64, the current president is a candidate for a controversial second term.
In a report, Amnesty lists cases of violations of freedoms in recent years, including the imprisonment of opposition figures and the shutdown of independent media. According to the NGO, at least five people have been killed in police violence since Mr. Lungu has been in power.
Pointing “An increasingly brutal repression of human rights”Amnesty Regional Director Deprose Muchena said in a statement that“It has become dangerous to denounce government corruption or abuse”. Opponents are “Intimidated and harassed” and some demonstrations were suppressed with “Lethal force”, he recalled.
In December, during a demonstration in support of the main opponent, Haikainde Hichilema, arrested several times since his official candidacy for the presidential election, two people were killed by police gunfire in Lusaka. The commissioner who ordered the shootings is still not prosecuted, according to the NGO, which calls on the authorities to respect “Human rights before, during and after the August 12 election” and to “Put an end to impunity”. Asked by AFP, the government did not comment.
Edgar Lungu was elected in 2016 after a ballot, the results of which were contested by the opposition. A poor and landlocked country with a population of 17 million, Zambia is in great financial difficulty. Its external debt is estimated at nearly 10 billion euros.