Edgar Lungu Reverses His “House-Arrest” Claim
24 May 2024
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Former President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, Denies House Arrest Allegations in BBC Interview

By Foreign Correspondent | In a revealing interview with BBC Newsday on May 24, 2024, former Zambian President Edgar Lungu reversed his claims that he is under house arrest, a statement contrary to his earlier posts on social media. Lungu discussed the strict public order and security conditions which impacts politicians globally, and in Zambia, obtaining police permission for political meetings is necessary and even more stringent for him as a former head of state.

During the interview, Lungu announced the reversal of his previous statement by describing his situation under the “virtual” term which implies an imaginary state.

He said, “Well, virtually, I’m under house arrest in the sense that I cannot move out of my house without being accosted and challenged by the police and driven back home. They took me out of a plane where I was supposed to have travelled for a conference recently. The other time, they refused to let me go for medication. The other time they refused me to go to church, and on several occasions, they have said, ‘police, you can’t go out.’ So this is a buildup, I guess, which way they want to culminate into my arrest. And I’m ready for that.”

Lungu was also informed he cannot engage in ‘political jogging’ without notifying the police for his protection, and his request for a police escort for a meeting in South Korea was denied due to it coinciding with another medical trip request to South Africa.

Amidst these discussions, a separate critique came from Edward Makayi, a popular political prisoner, who slammed a Human Rights Watch article by a faceless author claiming a deterioration of freedom of speech in Zambia has happened.

The article attributed the arrest of an activist, Mr Raphael Nakacinda over contempt of court charges under legislation set up by Lungu’s administration. Makayi noted, “Nakacinda alleged that he has physical evidence that HH is having midnight meetings with judges at his house so that certain judgments are in favour of the ruling party, meaning that the regime is just arresting people anyhow, and when called upon, he reversed his statement to say he never had evidence at all,” said Makayi.

Meanwhile, when asked by the BBC for examples of how the police have accosted him, Lungu claimed saying in a recent incident, “I went to the CopperBelt. On my way, I stopped by Kasanda, which is the central part of the country. I wanted to pick up this call when the Bishop of the church, Catholic church there, they just came where we were in the bishop’s office and told me you can’t be here, you shouldn’t be here. And then when the bishop asked why? They said that you are not supposed to be here. This one cannot come here without letting us know.”

The incident Lungu referred is on LIVE Facebook video, and has no such wording.

The government’s Communications Office countered Lungu’s statements, announcing, “We wish to clarify the former president Lungu has never been placed under house arrest, and that Mr. Lungu is now freely traversing our cities and towns exercising his rights to freedom of speech and association.”

Lungu also spoke about his determination to continue in politics: “Well, I’ve returned to politics. There’s no doubt about it, that I have when they’ve made it very clear. And I’m saying I’m ready to face the consequences of coming back to politics. There’s no doubt about it, then they know, the hidden but I would like to have access to the freedoms enshrined in my constitution.”

Lungu is on record threatening that violence will overthrow the current government, during a time when he had assumed extra judicial powers so to accuse his opponents of violence. (WATCH VIDEO).