Zambia. According to Countryaah.com, President Edgar Lungu brought in the hard gloves against those who refused to acknowledge his election victory in August 2016. In April, the second of the elections, Hakainde Hichilema, was charged with treason. According to the authorities, Hichilema’s vehicle column had blocked the way for the presidential shortcut on the way to a traditional ceremony in the western part of the country where both politicians were going. In doing so, the opposition leader would have put Lungu in danger. After four months in custody, Hichilema was released on the day the trial should have begun. Hichilema has the support of large sections of Zambia’s population and received almost 48% of the votes according to the official result which he himself refused to admit.
In June, Parliament’s President shut down 48 members of the United National Development Party (UPND), led by Hichilema. The reason for the 30-day suspension without pay was because the parliamentarians boycotted President Lungu’s speech to parliament in March. Politicians were asked to leave their seats in the National Assembly if they did not recognize Lungu as the legally elected president. In August, another opposition politician, Savior Chishimba, was arrested after publicly criticizing Lungu. Chishimba was charged with defamation by the police and allowed to be detained for a week before he was released without prosecution.
In early July, President Lungu introduced a state of emergency following a number of fires that were suspected of being created. Among other things, the largest market in the capital Lusaka and several public buildings had been burned. In addition, power lines had been cut with power outages in some mining areas as a result. The state of emergency allowed the police the right to ban public meetings, shut down roads and impose curfews. The police’s increased opportunities to keep people arrested for longer than usual were criticized by the opposition. According to UPND Vice President Geoffrey Mwamba, the state of emergency was a way to silence critical voices against the president and “kill democracy” in the country. The state of emergency was extended by Parliament by three months in July and was lifted in mid-October.
In September, the budget for 2018 was presented by Finance Minister Felix Mutati. Outside the parliament building, hundreds of protesters gathered who accused the government of corruption. Several of the protesters were arrested and taken away by the police.